In the aftermath of the Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn and Hank Pym each had their own ideas on what the Avengers meant and needed to be. Norman Osborn used his Dark Reign over the Marvel Universe to create his own team of "Dark Avengers," so in order to protect the heroic legacy that he helped found, Pym assumed the mantle of his late wife, the Wasp, and established his own team of "Mighty Avengers."
For months, the Mighty Avengers have fought the good fight, but they're about to face their biggest challenge to date. In a storyline running through "Mighty Avengers" #32-33, the team had an encounter with Norman Osborn and his team. That encounter may be over, but it's repercussions will lead to a confrontation with Osborn's ally Loki and embroil the Mighty Avengers in Norman and Loki's current "Siege" on Asgard. To make matters worse, an old and very powerful Avengers foe is about to make his return, and he's got Hank Pym in his sights. All of these events will come to head in April with issue #36, the series finale of "Mighty Avengers." CBR News spoke with writer Dan Slott about his plans for the book.
CBR News: Dan, in the "Dark Reign: The List-Amazing Spider-Man" one-shot, you had Norman Osborn's public image take a huge hit when press outlets received a video of him conducting some shady science experiments. At the end of "Mighty Avengers" #33, though, Loki cast a spell on some reporters and it now seems like the press once again sees Normans as a shining champion of the people. Is that true?
Dan Slott: Yes. Norman's PR was taking a hit, and now Norman is back to being the shining boy. Loki's spell fully countered what happened to him in "The List."
One of Norman's first acts with his newly restored public image was to use his governmental authority to strip Mighty Avengers member John Walker AKA USAgent of his heroic identity. It's an act that appears to have had a dramatic effect on Walker. How would you describe his mental and emotional state at the end of issue #33?
From the get go, whenever Norman Osborn's name popped up, USAgent has been the one guy going, "He's an American! He took out the Skrull Queen! God bless America! And God bless Norman Osborn! Which lead to his other teammates rolling their eyes and going, 'Oh God. You suck." [Laughs]
So when we see him at the end of issue #33, he can't be USAgent anymore. The guy running the show for the American government just told him, "Turn in your shield. That's it. You're through." This is going to have a big effect on John Walker all throughout the "Siege" storyline.
At the end of issue #33, it appeared as though John Walker didn't leave with the rest of the Mighty Avengers. What does that mean for his involvement in the upcoming "Siege" issues of the series?
Walker did not leave with his team. He did not go back with them to their headquarters, the Infinite Avengers Mansion. You're still going to see John in the "Siege" event, though. He'll be part of the action in both "Mighty Avengers" and "Thunderbolts."
The final page of "Mighty" #33 showed Hank Pym obtaining evidence that Loki is allied with Norman Osborn. Loki is the first villain the Avengers ever faced, and Hank has been very reflective as of late about his successes and failures as a superhero. In light of that, will Loki and Hank's initial confrontation all those years ago factor into their coming showdown?
There will be ties to "Avengers" #1, but you're going to have to wait to see what they are. Issue #34 [In stores March 3] is set right before "Siege," and there's some important stuff with both Loki and the mighty Thor. In fact, the title of the issue is "Pre-Siege Mentality." It will lay some important building blocks for what's going to happen with the Mighty Avengers characters during "Siege."
That issue will have some major goings on for the "Mighty Avengers" which snowball out out of what just happened in issue #33. Now that they know Loki is behind things that sets them in motion for what they'll do in issue #34. And the events of issue #34 are so big that they put everything in place for "Siege." There will be some major turning points. Now that the solicits are out, everybody knows that big things are in store for all the Avengers books.
We'll talk about some of that in just a bit, but first, let's discuss issues #35-36, the "Siege" tie-in issues of "Mighty Avengers." It appears as though for these issues you're telling two separate stories: one that takes place in Asgard and one set in the Infinite Avengers Mansion. Is that correct?
Yep. You'll see some front line style war stories involving the Mighty Avengers characters that are at the Siege of Asgard. And the ones that are there operating on the front lines are doing so without Pym who has been their leader.
Meanwhile, Hank is dealing with something in the Infinite Avengers Mansion, and it's pretty obvious from the solicits and issue #33 that - Spoiler Alert! - Ultron is back. Pym's original sin is back, and the stuff that happens with Ultron, Hank and Jocasta ties back into a lot of things. There are building blocks that go all the way back to the short feature in the one-shot that I did before I started my run on "Mighty," "Secret Invasion: Requiem." In fact, there are so many things that you might not recognize yet as building blocks, but they all tie-in and they all pay off.
So there will be plot threads in "Mighty" that started running from the beginning of my run, but you can walk fresh into our "Siege" issues. You don't have to have read an issue of "Mighty," but big things have been brewing and now they finally come to a head at the worst possible moment, when the "Siege" is going on.
Speaking of worst case scenarios, the last time we saw Ultron was during the "Annihilation: Conquest" storyline, and the robot had received a significant power upgrade. Is that still in effect?
Yes, In fact, the last time we saw him, Ultron was in the Kree section of space near the planet Hala. That's where he was destroyed, and the Mighty Avengers were just there. And readers now know that the metal insect that came back with the Avengers from Hala was a remnant of Ultron. In issue #33, that remnant took over one of the millions of bodies used by his "bride" Jocasta.
The cover of "Mighty Avengers" #35 shows Hank Pym, Jarvis, and Jocasta in Ultron's sights, which leads us to wonder - where is the other regular Infinite Avengers Mansion support staff member, Amadeus Cho?
Okay - let's move onto something that you'll hopefully be able to elaborate more on. It looks like the Thunderbolts will play a role in the "Siege" issues of "Mighty Avengers," and the "Siege" issues of "Thunderbolts" will feature the Mighty Avengers. How is that going to work? Is this a crossover within a crossover?
Everything is going to play fair. Marvel has been very good about that for all our crossovers, going back to "House of M." You really can choose any satellite book and get a full story, or you can read everything and get this big, rich story that's very fleshed out.
I think the best example of that is what Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak did with "Incredible Hercules" during "Secret Invasion," with the Earth gods fighting the Skrull gods. That was awesome. You could [choose not to] read any of "Secret Invasion," and if you got [the "Hercules" story,] you'd still get this epic Hercules tale. Or if you read it along with "Secret Invasion" and its tie-ins, you got to see how another fleshed out corner of the Marvel Universe tied into "Secret Invasion." I think that's the best example of Marvel doing something right with crossovers.
What can readers expect from artist Khoi Pham, your collaborator on "Mighty Avengers," in the months ahead?
Lots of gorgeous art. Didn't the two parter with the Dark Avengers look gorgeous? Khoi is really bringing it home. He was great before and he's even better now.
In April, "Mighty Avengers" #36 brings the series to a close. Did you have time to properly wrap up all the storylines you were playing with?
Yes. Including a wedding.
Is there anything you can tell us about said wedding?
There were some hints that were dropped very early on, and the issue where it takes place is called "WWJVD" which is a very telling and cryptic statement.
Any final thoughts on your upcoming "Mighty Avengers" work?
It's going to be a big-ass roller coaster ride to the series finale. A lot of stuff will pay off and play into the future of what the Avengers franchise is going to become.
There's a sequence in the "Unspoken" arc where Eternity tells Hank that he is going to play a prominent role in the new "Age of Heroes." So take from that what you will.