Fridays on CBR mean Axel’s In Charge.
An editor with years of experience who’s brought out comics to 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, Marvel revealed the lineups for both the “All-New, All Different Avengers” and “Uncanny Inhumans” — two teams set to be featured in one of Marvel’s forthcoming Free Comic Book Day releases, and, it seems, a glimpse into what the post-“Secret Wars” Marvel Universe may look like. With both of those teams unveiled, Alonso gives his insight into some of the surprises — Human Torch with the Inhumans? — and raises the question, “Is that Miles Morales?” in the “Avengers” image. Alonso also talks the latest “Secret Wars”-related announcements, including “Civil War,” “Hail Hydra” and “Red Skull,” gives his take on what makes Disney-specific projects like “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” a good match for Marvel’s publishing line and more — including answers to your questions, direct from the CBR Community.
Albert Ching: Axel, looking at the recently revealed lineup of the “All-New, All-Different Avengers,” you see the female Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America, Miles Morales, Kamala Khan — it feels like a reflection of the changes and greater diversity that Marvel has seen in the past few years. Was that a motivating factor — or the motivating factor — in putting this lineup together?
Axel Alonso: Waitaminute, is that Miles Morales? Or is that someone else? Someone new? Someone from Spider-Verse? Or maybe it’s Peter? Or maybe it’s someone he recently Googled? [Laughs]
Anyway — that roster! When [editor] Tom Brevoort laid out the cast for the new team, it just felt right — especially the inclusion of Ms. Marvel, Sam Wilson, and the new Thor. It felt like Next Level $#!#.
And even though it’s different from what people are used to, it still looks like a classic Avengers lineup. We’ve got Captain America, Iron Man, Thor…
Alonso: Yeah! You’ve got a healthy mix of characters — a core nucleus of veterans that have proven they can kick ass: Cap, Thor, Iron Man — but is it really Tony inside that armor…? Then you’ve got some newer, younger characters that are still proving themselves: Ms. Marvel and Nova. And then you’ve got some wild cards: the Vision and whoever it is in those black Spider-Man tights. The diversity of the cast is going to allow for very different perspectives on the Avengers-scale problems they’re going to face.
It’s also reflection of how these newer characters, or newer takes on characters, not only have been pushed by Marvel, but have been received by readers — they feel credible as an Avengers lineup.
Alonso: Yep. Fans have been asking over and over, “What’s going to happen with female Thor?” Well, this is part of it.
Alonso: Let’s see… Mahmud is a fast-rising star and a personal favorite of mine, and he just so happened to have a window in his schedule. Anyone who’s read his issues of “All-New X-Men” will see why we’d tap him for an Avengers Free Comic Book Day story. And who is more familiar with all of the characters throughout the Marvel Universe than Mark Waid? He made time for this.
Timing-wise, the Free Comic Book Day issue is out in about five weeks. But after that, I’m guessing it’ll be a while before we see this team together at Marvel, due to “Secret Wars” happening?
Alonso: Everything ends in “Secret Wars,” everything begins in “Secret Wars.” The only way to know where the All-New Avengers factor into the Marvel Universe is to keep reading.
Marvel has also released the lineup for the “Uncanny Inhumans” team, which has revealed more about what that comic is going to look like. In doing this concurrent release, and sharing space in the FCBD issue, is it fair to say Marvel sees this book as a franchise-type player close to the level of Avengers?
Alonso: Yes, we do. “Uncanny Inhumans” allows us to explore the divide between the Marvel Universe-proper heroes and the Inhumans, and see the extent to which it can be bridged. The Inhumans have emerged as a power-player in the Marvel Universe. In coming years, we will see if it’s big enough for humans, mutants and Inhumans.
And speaking of mixes: Is there any insight you can share about the Human Torch being on the Uncanny Inhumans team?
Alonso: Johnny Storm’s history with the Inhumans was a factor. That’s all I can say for now.
Let’s talk the latest “Secret Wars” announcements from this past week, starting with “Hail Hydra” by Rick Remender and Roland Boschi, which sees Hydra as having been in charge for a number of years. What’s intriguing to you about that series and what the creative team is doing there?
Alonso: Hydra. Let’s just say its Q-rating has never been higher. I mean, “Damn you, Hydra!” has become a part of the lexicon. So when we were discussing the geography of Battleworld, Rick suggested a piece of real estate in which Hydra… let’s just say, ran everything. We bit. The title — “Hail Hydra” — says it all. We’re leaning into the fun of it, but our love for this organization dates back to the Jim Steranko, “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” days. Rick has some surprises up his sleeve, and he’s got great chemistry with Roland, so it’s going to be a blast.
Late last week brought news that “>Marvel is revisiting “Civil War” with the team of Charles Soule and Leinil Yu. “Civil War” is certainly one of the most successful Marvel events in recent memory. Internally, what goes into returning to an event of as popular of a story as “Civil War,” with the stated purpose of doing something different while respecting what’s come before?
Alonso: Uhm…you’ve got to have a story to tell that isn’t redundant, that takes the characters — and readers — to a new place, and you’ve got to stick the landing. “Civil War” was an incredibly important series that wrestled with one of the most pressing and thorny questions of the day: “How much of freedom are you willing to give up for more security? And, indeed, whose freedom?” It was thought provoking and action-packed, in equal measure. That’s what we’re going for with “Secret Wars: Civil War.” In this story, the war never ended, and, in fact, it’s escalated. That’s just the starting point.
Late this week came word of a “Red Skull” series, featuring a unique team of villain protagonists. It’s from the creative team of Joshua Williamson and Luca Pizzari, and while Williamson has done shorter work for Marvel in the past and made a name for himself in the creator-owned realm, but what was it about his work that got him on Marvel’s radar for a higher-profile — and unconventional — project like this?
Alonso: Writing a book starring a villain can be a huge challenge for some writers so it was important for us to find someone that could get into the head of a villain — or villains, as it were — and make them three-dimensional. Josh’s creator-owned work — particularly “Nailbiter” — told us that he could do that and showed he had a good handle on crafting the kind of more mature we wanted for “Red Skull.”
“Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” debuted this week with issue #1. Marvel has been very selective about the Disney-centric projects they’ve pursued — from Marvel’s end, from your end, how does the publisher choose which of these projects to pursue? How does that get developed into a series like this, which obviously has a distinctly Marvel creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Tigh Walker?
Alonso: Our plan is simple: Strip-mine their best stuff! [Laughs]. Look, we work closely with the Imagineers. They recommend segments of the Disney Universe, and we ultimately settle on whatever we think will make for a good comic book story.
We’re having a lot of fun right now. Between the Marvel Universe, Star Wars, the third-party books and our Disney-themed series, my editors have a lot of flexibility to play in different universes, and have some fun. Hopefully, this will all pave a road to “Deadpool vs. Goofy.”
Before we get to fan questions — what can you share about last week’s news of former DC Comics editor Rickey Purdin joining Marvel as Talent Manager?
Alonso: Rickey’s a great addition to the team. For starters, he answers all of my e-mails immediately! [Laughs] Rickey’s got a lot of experience in the trenches, and he’s hit the ground running. Apart from stumbling a bit when he sang the Marvel theme song, he’s already helping us improve our business.
Looking to questions from the CBR Community, Chris Wing asks, “As someone who misses the Marvel UK heroes (Death’s Head II, Dark Angel, etc), could you say if any of these are set to appear during ‘Secret Wars’?”
Alonso: You may want to take notice of the recently announced “Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders” series. It’s written by Al Ewing and drawn by Alan Davis. It’s Captain Britain as you’ve never seen hi — I mean her before.
We’ll wrap with solietaire, who’s looking several months into the future to ask, “Can you give us any hints about what’s to come for the X-Franchise beyond the summer?”
Alonso: The X-Men office is taking the opportunity of “Secret Wars” to build an entire new world for the characters — to create a shared universe within the X-books that’s set off by a huge event/incident/surprise. At that point, they’re going to introduce a new team that feels unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’ll be… “extraordinary.”
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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