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Assembling the Avengers

Assembling the New Avengers III

Jonathan Hickman sheds light on the secrecy of the Illuminati, shares who'd be most likely to blow up the planet and more!

New Avengers #1 preview art by Steve Epting

By Paul Montgomery

On their own, the members of the Illuminati stand out as wildly powerful. Together, they’re a near omnipotent, albeit totally volatile force.

Not that they could ever tell anyone. It’s all very hush-hush.

We’ve spoken to Jonathan Hickman about the select group he’s assembled for NEW AVENGERS, but a few loose ends remain.

We’ll start with the question everyone’s afraid to ask…

Marvel.com: Does Black Bolt have much input anymore? Since Professor X is gone, does he no longer have a mouth-piece to relay his concerns and objections?

Jonathan Hickman: Well, we’re going to try not to do the thing where everyone turns on him and he says “No,” and stuff like that. But he has a sign-battle-language type of thing, and he can speak through Reed with that. And there are other things too.

Marvel.com: And you mentioned Beast being out of his depth a bit, and he’s sort of filling in for Professor X. Do you see Hank as the new de-facto spokesman for mutant rights?

Jonathan Hickman: No, not at all. There’s a specific reason why Beast is there. He gets brought in a very specific way and it becomes obvious that it could only have been him that was brought in because of how it happened. But yes, I think he is technically the representative of the mutant people, but we very quickly get away from these guys representing their communities. They get away from that very quickly.

New Avengers #1 preview art by Steve Epting

Marvel.com: When the Illuminati first formed, the Infinity Gems were a big deal, as were keeping them a secret. Is that kind of stuff still in play? Are there similar secrets, similar handling of artifacts?

Jonathan Hickman: The first secret is, “We are meeting and don’t tell anybody.” The second secret is “We got the Infinity Gems.” We deal with that really early, what’s going on there and what’s the deal with that.

Marvel.com: Is there a “Dark Illuminati” currently at work?

Jonathan Hickman: Not like what you’re thinking about. But they have the potential to become that themselves.

Marvel.com: Despite the Fight Club level of secrecy, does anybody outside of the circle catch on to these clandestine meetings? Does anybody else know about the Illuminati?

Jonathan Hickman: No, at first definitely no. Of course some people will figure it out, of course some people will be unhappy, of course there will be betrayals, and of course there will be turns that will happen and new characters that are introduced that will completely change the dynamic of the book, but right now, day one, for the first good chunk, no one has any idea that any of this is going on.

Marvel.com: Does that mean new members of the Illuminati or new members of the extended cast?

Jonathan Hickman: Both.

Marvel.com: Ok, some back-of-the-yearbook questions here. First up: Most likely to blow up the planet?

Jonathan Hickman: By accident or on purpose?

Marvel.com: Yes.   

New Avengers #1 preview art by Steve Epting

Jonathan Hickman: Let’s go on the assumption that they all have the ability to blow up the planet. The ones that would do it and not mean to do it are Beast, Black Panther and Doctor Strange. The ones that would do it and mean to do it? Tony Stark. Obviously Namor. Black Bolt without a doubt. Guys that would blow up the planet but then find a way to make a new one when it blows up? Reed Richards. And Captain America would never blow up the planet.

Marvel.com: Ok, most likely to blow off an Illuminati meeting for a spontaneous road trip? Name two.     

Jonathan Hickman: Reed Richards and Doctor Strange, I believe.

Marvel.com: Ok, that’s not the two I was expecting, but all right.

Jonathan Hickman: What were you expecting?

Marvel.com: I was thinking Iron Man going on vacation. With a furry wingman, perhaps. Or a mute one. But Tony for sure, right? 

Jonathan Hickman: Well, you’ll see.

Marvel.com: Okay. Most likely to blow off an Illuminati meeting to cure the common cold?

Jonathan Hickman: Oh, well that’s Reed Richards too. And Beast I suppose.

Marvel.com: Most likely to cure the common cold and not tell anyone about it?

Jonathan Hickman: Wouldn’t the obvious answer there be Black Bolt?

Marvel.com: Do you think he could cure the common cold though? He’s not one of the science-y guys...

Jonathan Hickman: No, I don’t, but if he did he wouldn’t tell anyone about it.

New Avengers #1 preview art by Steve Epting

Marvel.com: Most likely to reveal Illuminati secrets to family, friends or media?

Jonathan Hickman: That would be Tony. That would be Reed. Probably that’s it.

Marvel.com: Most likely to use Illuminati influence to rig an election?

Jonathan Hickman: That would be Black Bolt. That would be Black Panther. It definitely would not be Captain America.

Marvel.com: He already thinks that he’s the President of the United States, you said.

Jonathan Hickman: Exactly, so then why would he need to rig it? Why would he ever lose? He would never think he would lose.

Marvel.com: Do you suspect that fans will hate anyone in this group by the time this is over?

Jonathan Hickman: Yes, yes absolutely.

NEW AVENGERS #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting arrives on January 2, 2013!

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