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Marvel NOW!

All-New Marvel NOW! Q&A: All-New Invaders

Writer James Robinson and editor Mark Paniccia open up on the series, plus exclusive Steve Pugh preview art!

All-New Invaders #1 cover by Mukesh Singh

By Jim Beard

ALL-NEW INVADERS, part of the All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, promises not only hard-hitting modern action but the rock-solid legacy of one of the most famous super teams ever.

To this end, Marvel’s installed veteran writer James Robinson and artist Steve Pugh to lead an invasion force of iconic heroes into outer space and against a new faction of the star-spanning Kree race. We checked in with Robinson and ALL-NEW INVADERS editor Mark Paniccia to debrief us on a few of the particulars of the all-new mission.

Marvel.com: Gentlemen, how will ALL-NEW INVADERS work as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! initiative and the modern-day Marvel Universe?

Mark Paniccia: While there are elements of the past at play, right from the start we are thrust into a storyline that takes place during current events. The first thing our heroes have to deal with is a very aggressive power play from the Kree that, if successful, would give their empire a huge strategic advantage over Earth and rival cosmic empires.

James Robinson: Yes, when Mark asked me if I was interested in writing ALL-NEW INVADERS, I course was, but I immediately felt like the book had to have a fresh feel to it. Although some were excellent, I felt we'd read every story featuring [the Invaders] that concerned Hydra or Baron Strucker or Nazis or Neo-Nazis or some remnant of World War II coming to life for them to come together to fight.

All-New Invaders preview inks by Steve Pugh

I wanted a book that put the team very much in the present and in the heart of the Marvel Universe. The Kree fascinate me. They're everywhere, wrapped up in everything to do with the Marvel Universe, so having that being the first threat where ultimately the team has to invade the Kree homeworld, felt like something fresh that I hadn't seen before.

Marvel.com: What are a few of your fondest memories of Invaders-past? How might such stories guide you on this new series?

James Robinson:  When I was a kid, I loved the Invaders. I loved the scripts by Roy Thomas and the great Frank Robbins art that wasn't to everyone's taste on everything, but really suited the time period that series was placed then.  I loved Union Jack, who isn't in my first arc but who we'll see later on. I also liked how Thomas established that the Golden Age comics were fictionalized adventures published in their reality about them, freeing him up to take a bit of license with what he did in the book.

I don't know if the old series will guide me that much, in that this book has a very different feel and is set in the present-day, but I am looking forward from time to time to flashback stories that will tie into present day events where I know what Roy and Frank did will inspire me.

Invaders (1975) #1

Mark Paniccia: As a kid, I bought INVADERS just for the title alone. I thought it was the greatest name for a team. I have a lot of fond memories including the Baron Blood stories, Spitfire’s debut and the Asgardian stuff that James is touching on.

When James and I first started discussing, we knew we wanted to respect the rich history of the team but were both very much in agreement about the characters operating in modern times. The cosmic status quo of the Marvel Universe makes it easy to stay true to the team’s roots on the superhuman battlefront on a grander, more epic scale than ever before.

Marvel.com: Which heroes make up the main cast?

James Robinson: We start with the big three: Captain America, Namor and the original Human Torch, with the Winter Soldier too. I wanted to keep the cast small and focused to start out, so I could really get into their characters. This is especially true of Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch, who I'm really honored to get a crack at writing. He's the very first Marvel super hero, but for some reason, he always seems to be getting the bum end of the stick in my opinion; always dying or being deactivated or losing his powers. I think I have a bit of a reputation for taking obscure or under-utilized characters and fleshing them out. I intend to really flesh out Hammond and turn him into a truly compelling character. It's always great to write Cap and I'm having a blast writing Namor with his pride and arrogance. Winter Soldier is also fun, trying to capture that spark of "Bucky" that's still within him while embracing that the guy has had a bizarre and hard life in the time since then.

Invaders (1975) #20

Then upcoming we'll see other heroes from the Invaders' past coming in and out of the book depending on the story. Expect to see Aarkus the Golden Age Vision, a flashback featuring Golden Girl and in an upcoming arc a flashback issue featuring Union Jack in 1917 London taking on H.G. Wells' Martians that will then tie into an arc where the heroes must invade the alternative world of Killraven and team him with him and his Freemen.

Mark Paniccia: These guys are a true band of brothers, linked by a single top secret mission that holds the key to an unstoppable Kree empire. Captain America is the glue that holds these guys together despite all the things that have torn them apart over time. And James is going to have some fun with a few other characters you will recognize as part of Invaders history. And some that aren’t. He’s got some amazing stuff planned that expands the history of characters and the organizations they are related to.

Marvel.com: As each of the cast members are introduced, where are they at in their lives and careers? Which one of them might get more focus?

All-New Invaders preview inks by Steve Pugh

Mark Paniccia: James picks up on all the characters in their current status but you’ll see the most significant character work with James Hammond, the original Human Torch. He’s the character James immediately took to and had some amazing thoughts and ideas about. He’s a character I always liked and as the first Marvel super hero, a very important piece of this shared universe on many levels.

James Robinson: Cap is on [the] inside of everything. He's an Avenger and involved with the government, so as Mark says he really is the glue of the book. Namor, on the other hand is on the outside, despised and feared by many still after the events of AvX. The team will bring him a bit more back to center, but he'll always be the loose cannon that could set off trouble. Winter Soldier is outside too, but in a different way. He's thought dead by the world, so preserving that will be an on-going element. His stealth skills will be a factor too. Hammond is the heart of the team. He's in a bit of a bad place in his head at the start of the series, but we'll see him becoming more and more the hero again, finally accepting the "man" aspect of him being an artificial man.

Oh, and expect to see Jim Hammond: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the series unfolds.

Marvel.com: Once the Invaders are back together, what might still exist from the old days, in terms of camaraderie and cooperation?

All-New Invaders preview inks by Steve Pugh

Mark Paniccia: James has held onto the most important concept which is that these are all heroes. In the end, they put aside what they need so they can do the right thing. That’s a characteristic that was important before and is part of the underlying thread in James’ story despite all the cool stuff that’s happening around them, all the high concepts and pyrotechnics.

James Robinson: They're brothers-in-arms. That's the one thing that is a hold-over from WW2. That's the link—the bond that ties them together in the present, even as they face a new array of threats to Earth and themselves.

Marvel.com: Converse to that, what has changed the most among the team’s dynamics?

James Robinson: Hammond will be more a man. Bucky is more of a man. Namor is less stable. Whereas in the war they were all fighting an obvious common foe, now his goals and motives will not always be in line with everyone else.

Marvel.com: The Kree are a big new element to the history of the Invaders; how will you utilize them in this series? How will they set the series apart from past Invaders books?

James Robinson: I should stress, the Kree are a threat in the first arc. The team will face other threats after that. I like to think that sometimes, the team will be the Invaders of the title, taking the fight to the enemy. Other times the Invaders of the title will be the foes they'll face. The Marvel Universe Earth is constantly being invaded after all; from space, from under the ground, from the sea, from other dimensions, you name it. This team will face a variety of such foes, although, yes, the Kree will definitely be a recurring threat.

Invaders (1975) #33

Marvel.com: What’s the main antagonist of the book, Tenalth/Talan, like? What will be her prime motivation/job?

James Robinson: I liken her to the cops part of the TV show “Law and Order.” If Ronan is the legal side, then Talan—full title Talan the Pursuer, the successor to Korath—is the cop side who goes out and gets her man, as directed by the Supreme Intelligence. She's totally bad-ass as we see her and her Special Ops Kree Elite take on our team.

Marvel.com: The Invaders head into space; in what ways does such a journey possibly echo going overseas in the days of World War II?

James Robinson: Absolutely, that's intentional. The Kree invade Earth, so our heroes invade them back.

Marvel.com: James, you’ve become known for re-imagining Golden Age characters; what will be for you the greatest, hands-down joy of working on this series?

James Robinson: Well, Hammond as I said, but I am looking forward to getting to Union Jack, Spitfire, and the Destroyer down the line. And the team will have a female member, but not who you'd expect.

All-New Invaders preview inks by Steve Pugh

Marvel.com: What's artist Steve Pugh’s work been like so far on ALL-NEW INVADERS? What's he bringing to the table here in terms of design and layouts?

James Robinson: Working with Steve has been great. He's doing amazing work, and he's assured me he isn't going anywhere, so look forward to us being on this book together for as long as the readers want it

Mark Paniccia: Steve is doing some of the best comic work I’ve seen across the board. He’s bringing an incredible amount of detail and strong, cinematic storytelling. And the enthusiasm he’s bringing shows in every line from architecture to character design. He’s giving this his A-plus game.

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