True Believers: Caged Connections

Writer Cary Bates shares the secrets of the True Believers and their link to Luke Cage

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Preview art by
Paul Gulacy

By Jim Beard Mavis Trent inhabits a cutting-edge world, sharp and deadly, and she's bound and determined to share it with you. She's sharing it with a symbiote, so fair's fair, right? Legendary writer Cary Bates' new limited series with artist Paul Gulacy, TRUE BELIEVERS, began with a bang and it only gets more explosive from here on out. In issue #3, hitting stands September 17, Ms. Trent delves into the farthest reaches of her mind—and discovers an old family friend. "At the conclusion of issue #2 it was revealed that Mavis Trent—aka Payback—shares her body with a fearsome phantom entity that is somehow inextricably linked to her dead father," explains Bates. "Early on in issue #3 Mavis finds herself a split-second away from certain death, but in that split-second—which will encompass a full 90% of the book—we will learn the extraordinary series of events that bestowed Mavis with her powers and motivated her to form the True Believers. "Or to put it another way: this issue is also the origin story."

Preview art by
Paul Gulacy

So what does Luke Cage have to do with Payback and the so-called "warriors of the information age"? As one of the heroes who most publicly shuns Tony Stark's Super Hero Registration Act, the former Power Man played a very important role in the early days of Mavis' new life. "Luke Cage was always high on my list of potential TRUE BELIEVERS guest stars," reveals Bates. "What's unique about his explosive encounter with Payback is the time-frame, because he meets her before the True Believers—or Mavis' Payback persona—have been revealed to the world. Cage has no frame of reference, no clue about what to make of her. Is she hero, villain, mutant, etc… "All he knows for sure about this very strange looking woman is that she's unregistered—like him." TRUE BELIEVERS connects to the Marvel Universe both at its soaring pinnacles and its lowest, seedy depths. Luke Cage's appearance in TRUE BELIEVERS #3 stands as the perfect example of the series' scope. In fact, Bates is already thinking of a return visit by the estimable Mr. Cage as a "definite possibility."

Preview art by
Paul Gulacy

"The second time around he'll have a much clearer idea who—and what—he's dealing with," the writer notes. "As anyone who follows this [limited series] will discover, most super heroes shun the True Believers, for fear of seeing their own secrets pop up in Payback's blog." And where one symbiote—here referred to as a "variant"—appears, can a certain other infamous living costume/human hybrid by the name of Venom be far behind? "Since it will be revealed that these two entities are symbiote 'cousins'—for lack of a better term—I think some sort of clash down the road is highly likely," Bates teases. Find out what lurks in Mavis Trent, how Luke Cage impacted her life, and how the True Believers will next take on the world in TRUE BELIEVERS #3, due September 17! And for more classic stories featuring Cage, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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