Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: James Asmus

The Marvel newcomer dives into assignments on Generation Hope as well as Captain America & Bucky

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By Chris Arrant

Marvel Comics has never been without new faces whether it be characters or creators, and writer James Asmus takes the House of the Ideas by storm as he joins two ongoing series this fall.  In November, Asmus takes over GENERATION HOPE as its new writer before teaming with Ed Brubaker as co-writers on an arc of CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY beginning in December.

Asmus has written for Marvel before on numerous one-shots and anthology short stories, but joining these two ongoing series presents a new challenge for the Cleveland native. Inside GENERATION HOPE he plots the next generation of mutantkind’s meeting with long-time villain Sebastian Shaw, while CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY sees the return of the original Human Torch and another man who wore the Bucky mantle for a time.

Marvel.com talked with the enterprising young writer about Regenesis, remembrances and returns inside these two books.

CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #625 cover by Francesco Francavilla

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the arc you’re doing on CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY?

James Asmus: Well, first off, I couldn’t be more honored or thrilled be working with Ed Brubaker and Francesco Francavilla! As for teasing the story itself, unlike the initial arc of the title, our story is set firmly in the present, with a few flashbacks to pivotal moments from World War II. Also, since James “Bucky” Barnes met a tragic fate in FEAR ITSELF, we decided to bring in and reintroduce one of the other people who have taken up the “Bucky” mantle in the past. Our story and our mysterious villain are all about unleashing some unexpected ramifications of a major event in our characters’ history.

Marvel.com: The original Human Torch also shows up; what role does he play in this book?

James Asmus: Well, since the Torch’s return to the Marvel Universe, he has mostly been laying low and trying to figure out his place in this new era. But the specific threat that comes out swinging against our Bucky provokes Steve Rogers to recruit his old Invaders teammate for some extra help.

Marvel.com: Several months ago you wrote the STEVE ROGERS: SUPER SOLDIER ANNUAL, so what’s it like to return to the character in this setting?

James Asmus: That Annual—well, all of the “Escape from the Negative Zone” crossover—was probably my favorite comic I’ve written so far. So, hopefully I can keep that magic going! The big difference is, this arc more directly ties into Ed Brubaker’s fantastic long-running odyssey on CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Ed, your writing collaborator here has become the defining writer of Cap and Bucky for the modern age. What’s that like for you?

CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY #626 cover by Francesco Francavilla

James Asmus: His work has consistently stood CAPTAIN AMERICA as one of the best modern super hero comics. I have been following his stories hawkishly for years as a reader. So while that makes this a little more intimidating, I can’t express how excited I am to be collaborating, and to get an insight into his working approach to these comics.

Marvel.com: Artist Francesco Francavilla is also joining the book for this arc, and he’s built up quite a reputation on BLACK PANTHER, THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR. As the pages are coming back from him, how’s he taken to the time-spanning nature of this book?

James Asmus: Amazingly! Francesco especially garnered attention for his pulp-influenced art, so in a lot of ways the World War II parts make for a fantastic fit for him. But truthfully, every page he makes completely comes alive. His work always manages to feel so raw and so rich at the same time and I see him experimenting here in little ways that push his art even further. I think people are going to genuinely flip for his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA AND BUCKY.

Marvel.com: In November you’ll be taking on your first ongoing series as you join GENERATION HOPE. Marvel.com talked with you and Kieron Gillen a few weeks back about the hand-off, but what can you tell us about your initial stories now that X-Men Regenesis is upon us?

James Asmus: Well, now that I’ve knocked out my first three scripts, I can confirm that I am absolutely in love with these characters! They each have such strong perspectives that all I can do is drop them into a situation and they all but dictate to me how they would react. Also, as folks have already read Kieron’s wonderful final issue and [seen] some of the preview art I can confirm [that] in addition to bringing Sebastian Shaw into GENERATION HOPE, we’ve added Pixie and Martha Johansson—aka No-Girl—to the line-up. I know there are a lot of very vocal fans of those characters from the NEW X-MEN days. I’m one, too! So I hope they’ve asked their local comic shop to start pulling GENERATION HOPE.

GENERATION HOPE #13 preview art by Ibraim Roberson

Marvel.com: The X-Men have brought reformed villains into the fold on more than one occasion, but seeing Sebastian Shaw in the line-up takes that to a new level. How’d you come to bring him onto the book with you?

James Asmus: It came out of the first long talk with X-Men editor Nick Lowe. The way the team gets tangled up with Shaw in the first place came very naturally out of the team’s mission, and you’ll see it all in issues #13 and #14. But what got me so excited about the idea is really all of the potential stories that explode out of Hope taking him in as an ally. Given Sebastian Shaw’s history as a master manipulator and arch-villain, his presence can only ratchet up the tension surrounding Hope’s conflicts with Emma Frost as well as fears that Hope might have ties to a certain dark and powerful being from the X-Men’s past.

Marvel.com: The Generation Hope team has a different mission than other teams, as they’re generally out looking for the awakening of new mutants on Earth. Where are you taking them early on in search of this?

James Asmus: Right into the path of Sebastian Shaw! When we last saw him, Emma Frost had entirely wiped his mind and abandoned him in a remote part of western China. But a lot has changed for him since that moment. And exactly where and how our heroes find him will still be a surprise!

Marvel.com: On the art side, you have your STEVE ROGERS: SUPER SOLDIER ANNUAL partner, artist Ibraim Roberson. What’s it like going in knowing what your collaboration has done in the past?

James Asmus: I was genuinely thrilled to get another team-up with Ibraim! He always adds such texture and reality to his characters and their surroundings that it pulls the reader in even further into the world of our story. As you might be able to tell from getting another go-round with Ibraim and another crack at writing for Steve Rogers, that annual really seemed to connect with a lot of people. I think a world of credit goes to the fantastic job Ibraim Roberson does of nailing the action, emotion, and energy that we try to put into these comics. And we can’t wait to do it again!

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