Taking "Invincible Iron Man" to the Next Level, Traveling to "Weirdworld"

Fridays on CBR mean Axel's In Charge.

Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR's regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!

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!

Bendis, Marquez Push "Invincible Iron Man" To Forefront Of The Marvel Universe

The first book of Marvel's post-"Secret Wars" "All-New, All-Different Marvel" status quo was revealed last weekend at Special Edition: NYC: "Invincible Iron Man," from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez. It's been hailed as the flagship book of the impending new era of the Marvel Universe -- Iron Man was front and center of both of those teasers last week for a reason -- and Alonso talks why Marvel sees Iron Man as such a priority, and what makes Bendis and Marquez uniquely suited to bring the character -- very recognizable at this point due to the success of the Marvel Studios films -- to new comic book heights.

Alonso also talks this week's "Secret Wars"-related debuts, including "Weirdworld" by Jason Aaron and Mike del Mundo, which taps into a personal favorite genre of the Editor-in-Chief, dark fantasy. All that and more, including answers to your questions, straight from the CBR Community.

Albert Ching: Axel, you were in Oakland for Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, right?

Axel Alonso: Yes, I was.

That had to have been a tough one.

Alonso: Yeah. When the [Golden State] Warriors raced back from 11 points down in the last couple of minutes to tie the game and send it to OT, I'd have bet the farm they were going to win. Inexplicably, they went cold. All credit goes to Cleveland. [Matthew] Dellavedova -- if you've ever played the game, he's that short, slow, kinda overweight guy that dives for every ball and inexplicably just gets $#!# done. [Laughs]

Let's start with the big Marvel news from the past few days: "Invincible Iron Man" by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. It's being presented by Marvel as the flagship book of All-New, All-Different Marvel. Usually the flagship book is a team book -- like "Uncanny Avengers" during Marvel NOW! What does it mean to you to call this series the flagship book, and Iron Man Marvel's flagship character?

Alonso: Iron Man is one of the most recognized superheroes on Earth, he was the first brick in Marvel Studios' cinematic master plan, and his complexity makes him appealing to men and women -- with "All-New, All-Different" Marvel on the horizon, we just decided that it was high time we double down on the character in our publishing plans.

That, of course, starts with the talent. Whoever suggested Brian for the job -- maybe it was Tom Brevoort, maybe it was Dan Buckley -- they sure didn't face any opposition from me! [Laughs] Brian's imagination and ability to drill down and figure out what a character's really about and his gift for writing engaging dialogue and banter [Laughs] Well... he was a no-brainer -- if he were interested.

Brian embraced the challenge, he did his research and he reflected on one particular aspect of Iron Man's recent history: the revelation that Stark was adopted. That might have been the final piece for Brian, who is the father of two adopted daughters: he would have an outlet to write about a topic close to his hear in a manner that he felt comfortable.

I am very excited about what's ahead.

Bendis Discusses Armoring Up with "Invincible Iron Man"

That's certainly makes it an intriguing match. And I'd also like to get your thoughts on why David Marquez is the right choice for artist -- he's been working with Bendis for years now on "Ultimate Spider-Man," and this an even bigger step up in terms of stature. What has you excited about what Marquez is bringing to this series?

Alonso: Have you seen his art so far!? [Laughs] Look, we all thought that Marquez was poised to explode. And he has great chemistry with Brian. So we told him our not-so-modest goals for the character and he embraced he challenge. And his promo images, design sketches and preliminary pages are, as they say, "Next Level $#!#." In their careers, artists are presented with opportunities -- challenges to embrace -- that help their styles to evolve. I think that's what we're witnessing here.

"All-New, All-Different Marvel Previews" to Reveal Future of Marvel Universe

This series was announced last week at Special Edition: NYC, but it's been established that the bulk of the All-New, All-Different Marvel titles will be released in a print magazine -- an edition of "Marvel Previews" out in July. That seems almost like a more old-school way of announcing a bunch of new series, rather than a slow rollout online with teasers and one or two things popping up a day for a few weeks. What can you share about Marvel's strategy here?

Alonso: It's a new strategy. More a shock-and-awe strategy that reinforces how interlinked all of these characters are. They're all part of the Marvel Universe that's going to hit you post-"Secret Wars" -- a world resembles the one you know, but isn't exactly what you remember.

Aaron Explains Putting the Weird in "Weirdworld" During "Secret Wars"

And we're still in the midst of "Secret Wars," with a lot of new "Secret Wars"-related series debuting this past week. Let's start with "Weirdworld," which was one of the most unexpected announcements during the initial rollout, but has a heck of a creative team in Jason Aaron and Mike del Mundo. It's also a prime example of the non-superhero genres that Marvel is exploring with "Secret Wars." For you, seeing the finished product, how pleased are you with how the book has taken shape?

Alonso: This book is completely up my alley. I grew up as a huge fan of the dark fantasy genre: Robert E. Howard, "Conan" comics, Richard Corben. You know, a world inhabited by barbarians and wizards and cavemen and monsters. So did Jason, which is why he laid claim to "Weirdworld" the moment it became a piece of the geography of Battleworld.

I love the book. It's a brisk, fun read and it's laying down a huge piece of the new Marvel Universe moving forward. A substantial piece of real estate, populated by God knows how many characters that will become relevant in coming years.

And what an opportunity to see del Mundo cut loose on a book with a unique setting.

Alonso: Talk about an artist evolving. Every time he does a new assignment, Mike displays a new kung-fu skills. I was blown away by his work on "Elektra" -- all of us were; it was the prime reason that we wanted him on this book -- and that was just a warm-up compared to what he's doing here.

"Ghost Racers" #1 by Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon was also out this week. I know you're a fan of the Robbie Reyes character -- this is an interesting series, because it features past Ghost Riders, but Robbie Reyes is definitely the focus character of the book. Do you see this series as pushing Robbie even further, and establishing him as "the" primary Ghost Rider in the Marvel Universe?

Alonso: Without a doubt. Robbie Reyes is here to stay. The question is, who else in "Ghost Racers" is here to stay? [Laughs]

This week saw the release of "Marvel Zombies" #1 by Simon Spurrier and Kev Walker. This is the first "Marvel Zombies" series at Marvel for a few years, something that was once a regular fixture. This one is a little different take -- it's "Secret Wars," it's on Battleworld, but beyond that did it seem internally that it might be time to explore the concept again?

Alonso: Without a doubt. "Secret Wars" gave us the perfect opportunity to reshape the Marvel Zombies landscape and smack it down in the heart of the Marvel Universe. Editor Daniel Ketchum tapped writer Si Spurrier, who came back with a delicious pitch that allowed for maximum mayhem and occasional laughs -- Elsa Bloodstone traversing a landscape ravaged by your favorite Marvel superheroes, zombified -- and that was that.

This week's "Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps" #1 sees "Captain Marvel" veterans Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez joined by Marvel newcomer Kelly Thompson as co-writer. Beyond her fiction writing, Thompson happens to be a longtime CBR contributor -- what attracted Marvel to her work?

Alonso: Editor Sana Amanat read one of Kelly's short stories and other work and thought she had great potential -- she's doing some great work on "Jem" at IDW. She thought it would be cool to pair Kelly -- someone new to Marvel -- with someone seasoned, like Kelly Sue. Fostering the next generation of talent through those who have already been in the trenches.

I said just a couple questions ago that "Weirdworld" was unexpected, but certainly "Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos" by Gerry Duggan and Reilly Brown meets that qualification as well. As someone who has been a proponent of Duggan's work on "Deadpool" since the beginning, what was it about this series that made it the right fit for "Secret Wars?"

Alonso: Deadpool's wife, Shiklah, has been a regular cast member of "Deadpool" since their wedding back in issue #27, and with Deadpool having died in the buildup to "Secret Wars," it seemed like a good opportunity to put the spotlight on her and show why Deadpool -- and Gerry and [editor] Jordan [D. White] -- loves her so much. This is a series that no fan of Gerry's "Deadpool" run should miss -- it's no accident that Deadpool's name is in the title. This mini spins right out from events in Gerry and Brian [Posehn]'s run, and it will have important ramifications for any possible future Deadpool might have in Marvel Comics of the future...

Rounding out the new "Secret Wars" #1s for the week is "1602: Witch Hunter Angela." Angela has only been a part of the Marvel Universe for a couple years now, and readers are already seeing an alternate take on her. What do you think this says about the way the character has already permeated the Marvel terrain?

Alonso: Frankly, I think it shows that we were pretty successful in seamlessly working her into the Marvel Universe. If Angela didn't fit into the MU, then a book starring an alternate reality version of her wouldn't likely gain any traction with fans, but readers are into this "1602" book and this 1602 version of Angela as much as they are any of our other "Secret Wars" series. I think it's all a testament to the work that Neil Gaiman, Joe Quesada and Brian [Michael] Bendis did in setting her up here, as well as the work that Kieron [Gillen], Marguerite [Bennett], Stephanie [Hans] and Phil [Jimenez] have done in establishing her as a title character.

Jon Bernthal to Play The Punisher on "Daredevil" Season 2

And it's not publishing, but certainly big Marvel news from this week: That Jon Bernthal will be playing the Punisher in "Daredevil" Season Two. As a big fan of the first "Daredevil" season and someone who has edited some very famous "Punisher" stories, what's your take on that news?

Alonso: I was a huge fan of ["Daredevil"] season one, I am a huge fan of Punisher, and I knew Punisher was going to be a character in season two so I've been more anxious than the next guy to see who would be cast. [Laughs]

I'm really excited by the casting. I loved Jon in "Walking Dead." He looks the part -- he's got the face and the build -- and the acting chops. Though, he'll probably have to reel back the range a little bit, because Frank Castle doesn't hit quite as many emotional notes as Shane did... [Laughs]

Let's wrap with some fan questions. Speaking of the "Daredevil" Netflix series, last week's teasers got Spidey616 thinking: "Noticed in the All-New All-Different Marvel teaser Daredevil's billy club seems to have lost its traditional cable and appears more as it did in the Netflix series. How much influence did the Netflix series have not only on the billy club but also the darker costume? Just as important, is this an indication of a shift in tone for the DD series away from what Waid and company have been doing?"

Alonso: To be completely honest, the Netflix series didn't really impact our "Daredevil" plans. Everyone working on "Daredevil" watched the Netflix series and loved it, but we're focused on blazing our own trail for Matt Murdock in our comics. If anything, you might notice some tonal influence from how much we dug the series. And wait and see with the billy clubs!

The perceptive Shadowbrat asks, "We saw Star-Lord on the teaser for ANAD Marvel, but I was wondering, can we see a closer look at his ring finger, since that will truly give us a good look at his possible status quo?"

Alonso: We've got a ton of big plans for Star-Lord that we're going to be announcing soon, but not just yet.

We'll close the week with Teddard_Stark, who asks, "The story 'Spider-Men' by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli ended with Peter Parker making a seemingly shocking revelation regarding Earth 616's Miles Morales. My question is, now that Miles and Peter are both together in this new Marvel Universe, will this cliffhanger revelation be revealed and explored? Or is it to early to comment?"

Alonso: Too early to comment, except to say that Brian has promised to follow up that amazing last page of "Spider-Men."

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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