One of the most revered axioms in the Marvel Universe is of course “With great power comes great responsibility.” And right now, the Marvel Heroes are faced with the immense responsibility of protecting Earth and its peoples from the invading forces of the Skrull Empire. But is this too much responsibility for some heroes to bear? This June, writer Chris Yost and artist Takeshi Miazawa will examine this question and more, in the three-issue miniseries “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers.” CBR News spoke with Yost about the project.
“Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers” was originally intended to be a Runaways series, but Yost and editor Nick Lowe agreed the Young Avengers needed to be part of the tale. Yost, who wrote “New X-Men” with Craig Kyle, was especially happy as he was a fan of both “Runaways,” “Young Avengers” and teen superheroes in general.
“They're so raw,” the writer said. “They're young, they haven't seen and done everything, they generally lead with their emotions over logic. They mess up. And they generally have more fun. Thor and Dr. Strange crack fewer jokes than Rockslide and Speed.”
In current issues of “Runaways,” the team is seen trapped in the New York City of the past, and the members of the Young Avengers are currently undergoing personal journeys in the “Young Avengers Presents” miniseries. “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers” begins shortly after these storylines come to a close.
“For the Runaways, this mini bridges Joss Whedon's run, and the start of Terry Moore's run, which will be obvious, for reasons I can't really go into,” Yost explained. “And I can't talk about the future of the Young Avengers; or the lack of a future for the Young Avengers. Let's just say war is hell.”
“Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers” opens with one team looking for a change and the other coping with a difficult status quo. “The Runaways have just made the decision that New York sucks and they should probably head back to L.A. This mini is not going to change their minds on that front,” Yost remarked. “The Young Avengers are doing okay, I'd say. The Civil War was hard on them. They lost Stature to the Initiative, and their future was uncertain. Wiccan is still grounded for life, I think. But they're still a team and they're still together. And they're still trying to make a difference.”
Making a difference against the invading Skrulls means fighting in a full-scale war; something Yost believes neither team of teen heroes is emotionally ready for. “Especially on the Runaways side,” he stated. “They've seen and done amazing things, but never full on warfare--with one exception - Xavin. And they're also responsible for Molly. Molly's been involved with some rough stuff, but nothing like this.
“The Young Avengers have dealt with a whole mess of Kree and Skrulls, but they didn't necessarily want to kill the Young Avengers - they both wanted possession of Hulkling,” Yost said. “This time, when alien ships fill the sky, it's a different story.”
Xavin’s Skrull heritage and experience in war gives him a unique perspective on the Skrull invasion of Earth. In fact, it’s quite possible he might not see the invasion as such a bad thing. “Xavin’s teammates are wondering this very thing, because when the Invasion goes down, they turn to him to ask what's going on,” Yost explained. “And Xavin's answer is pretty clear cut/violent.”
To his friends and teammates Hulkling is also known as Teddy Altman. But to certain Skrulls, Hulkling is known as Dorrek VIII, the name given to him by his birth mother, the Skrull princess Annelle. This royal pedigree means, like it or not, Hulkling has a huge part to play in the drama of the Skrull invasion. “Hulkling is not thinking about his royal lineage, or the destiny that he has as savior and uniter of the Skrull Empire,” Yost said. “Everyone else IS. The miniseries is about the ramifications of him turning his back on that, something Xavin took him to task for in the 'Civil War’ miniseries. Hulkling made a big mistake, and Earth is about to pay the price.”
The Runaways and Young Avengers become involved in “Secret Invasion” shortly after the opening shots in the conflict have been fired. “The end of 'Secret Invasion’ #2 and beginning of # 3 really set the stage for this mini-eries,” Yost explained. “When you see the end of SI # 2, which features the Young Avengers (last time I checked), you'll understand why. And how cool was the cover for 'Secret Invasion’ #4?”
Yost couldn’t get too specific with plot details for “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers,” but was able to provide some hints about the story: “It's full on superhero versus alien war/action, with a through-line of an assassination attempt,” he remarked. And romance!! Well, no. But action!!”
In “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers,” there are two Skrulls in particular out to make life miserable for the super teens. “There's a Skrull Commander by the name of CHRELL who plays a big part in the mini-series here. He has a particularly nasty mission, and is very familiar with both Xavin and Dorrek. And he's well aware of the Majesdanians [a race of which Runaways member and Xavin’s wife Karolina Dean is a member],” Yost said. “There's also a particular Super-Skrull named X'iv that is especially deadly.”
Readers of Yost’s work in “New X-Men” know the writer has a knack for telling tales of teens in dire peril. And in “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers,” he will again test the mettle of his youthful protagonists by placing them in a grim situation. “It's bad, I won't lie. Did you read 'Illuminati’ #5? It took some of the most powerful super-humans on the planet and a near nuclear explosion to take down three of these things, the new Super-Skrulls,” Yost remarked. “And this series is called Invasion. This is war. This is military. There are no prisoners, only targets. And for all their power, the Runaways and Young Avengers are just kids. They are in over their heads, and this series pulls no punches.”
“Runaways” readers already know how skilled Takeshi Miazawa is as an illustrator and Yost expects “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers” to earn the artist even more fans. “I cannot wait for people to see this book,” Yost said. “Takeshi's amazing, but the first pages that came in, on a Skrull world, they just took it to another level. His Runaways work was fun, the characters look so vibrant--but I was surprised at how bad-ass his Chrell looked. Deadly!”
Based on solicits information and covers, it looks like the Young Avengers play a fairly significant role in the main “Secret Invasion” series, but readers don’t need to read the series to understand “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers.” “There are aspects of the story that are contained in the Runaways/Young Avengers mini, and there are bits that go through to the main series. But for any Runaways or Young Avengers fan, or anyone who enjoys teen superheroes in general, this series will give you a satisfying, self-contained story,” Yost stated. “We'll explain pretty much everything you'll need to know. Except the Dire Wraith comment. You'll just have to hit Wikipedia for that.
“This miniseries hopefully will capture the intensity and desperation of the main series, but really make it personal for the Runaways and Young Avengers,” Yost said. “It's fun to see the two teams together, and see how similar and dissimilar they are. I think their battle cries sum it up: 'Young Avengers Assemble!’ and 'Try not to die!’ This miniseries really leans to the Runaways' battle cry.”
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