Assembling the Avengers

Assembling the Avengers Pt. 3

Jonathan Hickman places Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the context of the Marvel Universe!



Avengers #1 art by Jerome Opena

By Paul Montgomery

Just as planets revolve around a star, AVENGERS informs the gravity of the entire Marvel Universe.

That’s business as usual for Captain America and Iron Man, but for writer Jonathan Hickman and his role as a storyteller, it represents a seismic shift.

Just what does the writer have planned for AVENGERS and for the Marvel Universe as a whole? Will Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the mutants maintain their fragile peace? More importantly, can we stir up any competitive fire between Hickman and outgoing AVENGERS mastermind Brian Michael Bendis?

We spoke to Hickman about this brave new Avengers World in part three of our discussion. In terms of the overall tone, you’ve described AVENGERS as the “day” to NEW AVENGERS’ “night.” Is that just an expression of how dark NEW AVENGERS is, or is there really some warm and fuzzy to be had in this series?

Jonathan Hickman: Well, AVENGERS is a hopeful book. It’s optimistic, it’s about the world that we want to have and the world that we can have, not about the world that we do [have]. Tonally the two books get to be more different. They work in contrast to each other. There will be moments where bad things happen, of course. It’s not going to be completely whimsical, but yeah, it’s generally a hopeful, optimistic book. AVENGERS is the hub. Historically, it’s informed a lot of the other books. Do you feel that’s a dramatic change in your role with the rest of the Marvel bullpen? Are you working closely with anyone in particular on the other books?

Avengers #1 cover by Dustin Weaver

Jonathan Hickman: It’s really different for me because I went to the last retreat and I didn’t realize that people were expecting different things from me. I mean, I was pretty much left alone to do whatever I wanted in FANTASTIC FOUR, and now I’m having to kind of have a little bit of a different role. That’s good for me as a person and a creator and all that kind of stuff. It’s interesting and different. A little uncomfortable, but I’ll figure it out. I think probably the next time we get together is when we’ll start. The cool thing about Marvel NOW! is that we were all given a certain amount of time for our books to find themselves. You know, “Kieron, go do the best Iron Man story you can. Jason, go do the best Thor story you can. Don’t worry about connectivity and the quote unquote ‘Marvel Universe’ of it all.” I think we’re probably headed back towards more of that next time we get together. Is Avengers Universe something that’s going to affect other books?

Jonathan Hickman: My whole concept of AVENGERS structurally is that the evolution of Thor would happen in the Thor comic book, and the same with the Hulk, and Captain Marvel, and Captain America, and Spider-Man and all that kind of stuff. The evolution of those characters, the character development, and the character arcs of those guys would happen in their own books, and I would be responsible for making sure that that lived in the Avengers book. Inside of the Avengers book, the character evolution will come from the other characters that surround these heavy-hitters of the Marvel Universe. The way that it remains the Avengers and about the biggest characters in the Marvel Universe is its kind of like hero worship, where everything they do is reflected in how they feel about “What would Captain America do? What would Thor do?” It’s not that elementary, but you kind of get the idea.

Avengers #2 cover by Dustin Weaver How about the mutant issue? Do you see the X-Men and other mutant characters as sharing the same stage as the Avengers now that Avengers Vs. X-Men brought everything to a head? Will there be more mingling from now on?

Jonathan Hickman: The place that we’re trying to get to is where those two groups aren’t in total confrontation all the time after AvX. I mean, that’s kind of the point of Rick [Remender’s] book, UNCANNY AVENGERS, is to bridge the gap there. Obviously I have mutant characters on the team. Revisiting AvX stuff is not something that I’m going to be doing; thematic AvX stuff is not something I’m going to be doing in AVENGERS. Like I said earlier, this is the next evolution of that. It really won’t be about those things. So, I have to come back to it just at the end here: Brian Michael Bendis is relocating to the X-Men’s corner of the Marvel Universe. Some might look at that and say it’s his bid to move the mutants to the top of the stack, what he did with the Avengers. Because the Avengers weren’t really Avengers before he made them the Avengers. Are you going to let him get away with that?

Jonathan Hickman: Do you mean do I think that Brian is going to turn the X-Men into the biggest book at Marvel? [Laughs] Is that what you’re asking me? And the Avengers will recede into the background?

Avengers #3 cover by Dustin Weaver Well, you tell me. Are you going to let him get away with something like that? [Laughs]

Jonathan Hickman: I think I’m going to try and write the best book at Marvel, and the chips will fall where they may. I want Brian to kill it. I want him to do a magnificent job. I guess the oblique answer is I’m hyper-competitive. Of course I always want to win, but these guys are all my friends and I want them to do incredibly well also.

Pick up AVENGERS #1, on sale now! Tomorrow, Jonathan returns to talk NEW AVENGERS!

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best looking Cap ever!!!! im now a Cap fan!!