Recently announced by Marvel and in the wake of AXIS, writer Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers is being relaunched with a new team and a new focus. Made up of Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Vision, Captain America, Sabretooth, and Brother Voodoo, this new team is pulled together due to a chaotic situation that will be delved into in the first arc of the new series. Today, Remender and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort spoke with the comic press today (with the call being led by Marvel PR’s Chris D’Lando) about the relaunch, the personal stakes that are in play, and what villain will be there to wreck havoc on the lives of this team of Avengers.
One of the key questions raised up from by D’Lando was: why this particular line-up of team members for the new incarnation of the book? To which Remender responded:
You think about their individual personalities and powers and what you want to accomplish. It was important to Tom that Quicksilver and Wanda get back together, and to do some interesting things with Vision. I obviously have a lot of love for Doctor Voodoo, same with Sabretooth. Rogue is still there from the last team. For obvious reasons, you have to have a Captain America.
He also stated that this is a team that is put together as bedlam is breaking out, specifically the group is assembled by Rogue and Scarlet Witch,
whose friendship is the lynchpin of what remains of the Unity Squad: “They’ve come through it all and learned the most. Their friendship was one of the main points of the first story, and they’re co-leaders when we open.” says Remender.
But he stresses that this crew is a bit ramshackle as well, affirming that that this is the team that was available to them at the current time, lending the proceedings a pretty strong X-factor.
But what is the mission the team will be embarking upon? While Remender and Brevoort had to keep much of that information close to their chest, they did elaborate that the already announced “Counter Evolutionary” arc will see the series kick off with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch trying to discover the truth about who they are and who created this grand lie about their ancestry (as a reminder, they discovered in AXIS that Magneto is not actually their father). This search will lead the new team to Counter-Earth, where Remender felt like much of his enthusiasm for the new story had its genesis:
To me, the most fun aspect of this story is Counter-Earth. When Tom hit on that, it all fell together. It’s one of the coolest and most exciting concepts in the Marvel Universe that has been underused for a long time. Having this group of Avengers journey to the new Counter-Earth, and the reveal of what the new Counter-Earth is and the villain behind it all and what he’s up to contextually connects to Wanda and Pietro. It’s the thing that got me excited about the story.
Remender further elaborated on the elements of this arc, confirming the involvement of The High Evolutionary and that it was one the elements
that attracted him to this assignment and that it gave him one too many story ideas to work with, far more than could be covered in just the first arc. Remender noted that the villain is a classic Kirby character with interesting motivations and his elation in utilizing him was quite clear.
The subject of Sabretooth and his newly inverted role to the side of the heroes, another consequence of AXIS, was brought up as well. Remender elaborated on where we find Creed at the series’ outset:
You’ve got an inverted Creed dealing with the events of his past, except his moral compass has been flipped and he has to deal with the fact that no one trusts him. The Avengers don’t know what to do with him. He was in the Avengers Mansion jail cell at the end of AXIS, and no one knows how long this inversion will last. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s a serial killer.
Brevoort warned that we shouldn’t fall into the idea that he’s basically filling Wolverine’s shoes. “He isn’t going to be Wolverine but blonde, he’s a different dude, with a different past than Wolverine had and a different set of circumstances”. Though he raises what may be the key question for the character in the series and how the other Avengers interact with him: “Just how long will this inversion stuff last anyway? Despite how good he might be feeling, this isn’t natural for him”.
Remender also reserved some praise for artist Daniel Acuña who joins him at the series launch, highlighting the fact that having Acuña on board for such a strange and fantastic sci-fi story was the icing on the cake, and he specifically made mention of his mastery of designs and architecture. According to the writer, this is career-best work for Acuña.
With the current status quo of Simon Williams/Wonder Man now residing in Rogue’s head and Vision joining the team, Remender touched on the dynamic that exists between the former lovers:
They had a family together, they were married and together a long time…the attraction Scarlet Witch felt to Vision was because he was the purest version of Simon Williams, who she was really in love with. We revealed that she’s still very fond of Simon and they are very close, and now he’s trapped in Rogue’s head. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s complete animosity. Vision’s going to do what he has to do to protect her, but he’s vocally the most mistrusting of Wanda and her mental state…
And regarding how this all affects her friendship with Rogue, Remender says that given the limited space in the series, it could take twenty issues to fully investigate that relationship, but that it won’t be touched upon in the first arc at the very least.
On the subject of Brother Voodoo, in response to a press question, he disclosed that there weren’t current plans to revive the Avengers of the Supernatural (who recently appeared in the Uncanny Avengers Annual), but such concepts are never far from his heart, stating that it has been discussed by he and Brevoort at length. Brevoort also said that it might not hurt to dig out that Doctor Voodoo trade paperback (also written by Remender) for future reference material.
Questions were also asked regarding possible appearances by Magneto or Havok, for the former, Brevoort said that it’s clear that he will show up at some point, as these revelations strike close to him. As for Havok, he divulged that given enough time, Havok will reappear in the book, but that his future is with the X-Men titles currently.
Another press query focused on the possibility of character stagnation being the impetus for this relaunch, which Brevoort addressed:
Part of the fallout of AXIS required a shuffling of the deck. Havok coming out of AXIS in a totally different place makes it impossible for him to lead the Avengers anymore. This was by design. It was this big story that we were leading up to which would shake up the cast of the book and the characters that were on the team, partly because you want a big story to have an impact on the team. That’s something that Marvel creators have done virtually since the beginning. This is not different from that, whether you’re talking about Sabretooth being in a new role or all the stuff with the High Evolutionary or who Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s parents are this week.
Finally, the subject of Remender’s work on All-New Captain America was broached, with a question of Steve Rogers’ possible involvement in Uncanny Avengers, given the role he plays in All-New Cap:
Steve’s not really playing a role in Uncanny Avengers right now, this isn’t like the first story where there was a press conference. This is crazy; there’s a mission that has to happen and Rogue puts a team together that’s available. There is no clear anything at the beginning. There isn’t a lot of calling back to Steve at the base. There’s no hierarchy.
This then led to Brevoort revealing a new storytelling style that Remender has begun to employ, working in medias res: “In the first page of the first issue, things have already happened, things are already in motion. The issue where Rogue is on the phone recruiting people is the issue we did not do”.
I think it makes for exciting comics. I write four issue outlines to get issues moving, and to make things exciting I’ve been cutting the first issue and getting the important bits of it out in flashbacks or little bits of exposition. We catch you up as we go through the first thirty pages of the read. It feels dangerous as I write it; it feels exhilarating.
Uncanny Avengers #1 is on sale January 28th.