By Kiel Phegley
The teenage refugees of Nick Fury's Caterpillar Files have been spinning cocoons for a long while, but by the end of SECRET INVASION, the young heroes will have a new monthly series and a new name as SECRET WARRIORS hits comic shops courtesy of co-writers Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman.
"Fury was keeping an eye on them and keeping them in his pocket, so when he went underground, he took all that with him," says Bendis of the characters' high concept. "These are people that in the context of the Skrull invasion, no one would know about but him. It's that old adage, 'If you don't know if the apples are rotten or not, don't pick them off the ground. Pick them off the tree.' It's from 'The Untouchables.'"
And while the foundation of the team got laid way back in 2004 with the introduction of the earth-shaking Daisy Johnson during SECRET WAR, Bendis relishes the chance to dive into this cast of characters, from Ares' 10-year-old god of fear son to the street smart, fire chain-cracking grandson of the original Ghost Rider.
"Daisy was the first one, and I always had a few ready to go," reveals Bendis. "Initially, it was supposed to be a Nick Fury series that me and Howard Chaykin were going to do, but the book itself turned into something else, and it looked like sadly I wouldn't even have the time to write it. That was a big bummer for me because I'm very invested in it."
That bummer turned into an exciting opportunity for Bendis when Marvel suggested he bring on Hickman to script. While many Marvel readers may be unfamiliar with Hickman's large and acclaimed body of independent work, Bendis had been championing to get a shot at the Marvel U, a chance Hickman was more than ready to take.
"Brian has been a big advocate for my work and when he asked me to do this with him, I, of course, jumped at the opportunity," reports Hickman. "POWERS is one of the things that got me back into comics after not having anything to do with them for eight years. Hell, POWERS is what got me into a Robert Mckee seminar and making comics."
With Hickman's resume including time-travel epics, social satire and sci-fi action, the possibilities for SECRET WARRIORS remain wide open, but the writer dropped a few hints as to what readers can expect:
"SECRET WARRIORS is going to be a super-hero spy book. In my series bible notes to Bendis I wrote, 'We want to wow them with our big moves and deceive and seduce the reader with our small ones.' So we'll be doing that, but additionally one of the things I'm most looking forward to doing on this book is working in a longer format than four to six issue minis. I'm very excited about doing the kind of character development I haven't had the chance to in my other work."
"I'm basically giving Hickman all the ideas and nonsense in my head that I've built over the last few years and letting him take whatever he wants from it and run with it," adds Bendis.
But before the regular series kicks off, the story behind the story will be revealed as part of the SECRET INVASION event.
"There's going to be MIGHTY AVENGERS #18 which will show Nick Fury's original training of them, which I'm very excited to show," enthuses Bendis. "It's going to be a nice platform to get to know the kids and the dynamic during the invasion. The series will start right after the invasion with whoever survived it…because not everyone is going to."
And the survivors will face a Marvel Universe very hostile to their presence and their mentor.
"Nick is basically an agent of nothing and nobody taking it upon himself to do what he knows is the right thing to do," Bendis explains. "Anyone reading this will go, 'He kind of sounds like a terrorist!' That's the question of the series. What's the difference between vigilantism and terrorism? I take very seriously a book having a unique point of view, and I think this one has a legitimately fascinating and unique stamp on the Marvel Universe."
"It's Brian and my opinion that Nick Fury doesn't really react to anything, things react to him - he's the axis everything spins around," concludes Hickman. "So, make of that what you will."
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