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Sign Up for Secret Avengers with Ales Kot

A new writer joins Nick Spencer for his next arc and talks with us about plans for Mockingbird and more!

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Secret Avengers #12 preview inks by Butch Guice

By TJ Dietsch

The SECRET AVENGERS team doesn't let just anyone into its ranks. But, come December 4, the book gets a new player: Ales Kot.

The writer of comics like Change and Zero makes his Marvel debut with SECRET AVENGERS #12 along with regular writer Nick Spencer and artist Butch Guice.

“Nick Spencer and I come up with the plot and I script,” Kot explains. “The plotting stage was a joy and a mind-bender. The editorial team is well-read, professional and swift. Butch Guice is one of the true heirs of Jim Steranko and being able to work with him is a huge gift for me. I get a feeling of great excitement when we talk story, script, whenever I see a new page. There is a friendly and creative back-and-forth between all of us.”

Secret Avengers #12 preview inks by Butch Guice

SECRET AVENGERS focuses on a S.H.I.E.L.D. initiative that utilizes super heroes and villains as operatives who have their memories erased to avoid potential security risks. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Mockingbird, War Machine, Hulk and Taskmaster have all enlisted to work with agents like Nick Fury Jr., Phil Coulson and Daisy Johnson. Most of their missions so far revolve around the sovereign super villain nation of Bagalia and A.I.M.'s nefarious Scientist Supreme.

Kot and Spencer's first arc together, titled “How to Maim a Mockingbird,” deals with the heroine of the same name trying to get out of Bagalia before the bad guys figure out her true identity. 

SECRET AVENGERS #8 found Mockingbird trapped in the identity of an A.I.M. scientist thanks to some memory tampering while issue #9 showcased the brewing showdown between team founder Johnson and newly appointed S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill.

“One will be up in the clouds,” Kot says of the pair of powerful women. “The other…will travel.”

Secret Avengers #12 preview inks by Butch Guice

Kot notes that the hunt for Mockingbird has its roots in Bobbi Morse's history, but plans to keep a tight lid on the details until the issue hits in a few months. However, the writer does give three hints about what to expect from the first arc:

“One, a deal that happened in 1945 will partially mirror a deal that will be attempted during the events of ‘How to Maim a Mockingbird.’ Two, someone inside A.I.M. is playing a double game. Okay: more than two people, actually. Three, a team member will be shot in the head.”

With one team member seemingly on the way out, will a new one come in to take her or his place? No one's saying at the moment, but Kot did note that a familiar face will show up.

“There's a character coming very soon—coming, creeping, moving towards you all,” he teases. “The grin on her—or is it his?—face is menacing and sleazy. His—or is it her?—brain is brilliant. And the motives are uncertain. By the time #13 ends, you will know a lot more.”

Secret Avengers #12 preview inks by Butch Guice

Kot gives a lot of credit to Guice, not only for bringing the espionage-drenched world of SECRET AVENGERS to life, but also paying tribute to an artist forever associated with S.H.I.E.L.D.

“I keep the scripts very open so Butch can let loose and sculpt the page to his liking,” the writer notes. “Sometimes I wish these issues would come out in two versions, with one of them black and white so the readers could see just how precisely Butch employs chiaroscuro.

“There is a very explicit Guice-does-Steranko psychedelic page in SECRET AVENGERS #12 that blew my mind just a day or two ago. I described elements of it, described the feeling of it, to Butch, but the collage itself, the way the elements blend together, that is his work. There is joy in true collaboration. And that joy is transmitted on the page.”

Secret Avengers #12 cover by Butch Guice

The writer credited clear communication for making the process run smoothly between Spencer and himself.

“We can change things as we go along if inspiration strikes and the idea is right,” Kot says. “Proper preparation and planning—meaning the communication and the outlines—mean we have a firm ground we can stand on while dreaming up new possibilities. At the end of the day, it's about telling the right story for me, it's about connecting by telling a story that matters to me as a human being.”

SECRET AVENGERS # 12 from writers Ales Kot and Nick Spencer with art by Butch Guice lands on stands December 4. You can currently read issue #9, on sale now

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