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By Jim Beard
Even a super hero can wind up on YouTube if he's not careful-but who will put him there?
Out of the shadows emerge the True Believers, "warriors of the information age" who only want the truth-and will stop at nothing to deliver it!
Legendary writer Cary Bates, along with the equally-superlative Paul Gulacy on art, brings his latest and greatest brainstorm to the House of Ideas in a cutting edge five-part limited series beginning July 30, and once he gets started, no one
"The Marvel Universe is a vast playground overflowing with heroes, villains, mutants, aliens, etc., and therefore at any given time there must be any number of secret agendas and conspiracies ongoing right under our characters' noses," explains Bates in regards to the origins of his new creative endeavor. "My initial idea had 'True Believer' as the title of a National Enquirer type tabloid that would be run by a woman who was a heretofore unknown half-sister of Jonah Jameson.
"Once we hit on the idea of replacing the tabloid with a cutting edge Internet podcast platform, the woman publisher became a character who called herself True Believer
, a roving muckraker. The final tweak was expanding the idea-instead of a lone character it became a group."
Mavis Trent, aka Payback, lays at the heart of the team-and the series-a woman with not only a few bridges to burn but her own internal demons to roust. Her high-profile targets? S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA, A.I.M., the C.I.A.-to be quite frank, the entire Marvel Universe!
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"Since our lead, Mavis Trent, has a day job as a data analyst for S.H.I.E.L.D., the series is anchored in a cornerstone of the [Marvel Universe]," notes Bates. "It also pretty much guarantees an eventual clash with Iron Man.
"Tony Stark has no inkling the leader of the True Believers is on his payroll, and initially the group isn't on his radar. But once a few of the secrets the Believers uncover threaten to expose some highly classified S.H.I.E.L.D. operations, Stark is at odds with them. All of which builds up to a major confrontation with Iron Man in the fifth issue."
Some other notable guest stars include the Illuminati, Luke Cage, Armadillo and Madame Hydra. And could that really
be Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic himself, exposed as a D.U.I. statistic in issue #2?
"All I can say about that is there's more to the Reed Richards D.U.I. story than meets the eye," teases the writer. "That's one of the most interesting aspects about this series-by its very nature it reveals layers within layers, allowing us to go into the nitty-gritty with these well known Marvel characters and tell the real story behind
"And hey, had the Believers formed a year or two earlier, they might've been ahead of the curve on the whole Skrull invasion conspiracy, though odds are few would've believed them at the time."
"True Believers" has long existed as a visceral phrase for Marvel fans, popularized by Stan Lee years ago. Bates sees it as a "slam dunk" of a title and editor Tom Brevoort responded positively to its use to herald the new series. Bates also doesn't hide his enthusiasm to be working with an artist the caliber of Paul Gulacy.
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"This is the first time we've ever worked together and we've pretty much been in sync from the start," Bates crows. "One of the things I've looked forward to the most in doing this project is getting to see Paul's pages when they come in. And Rain Beredo is doing fantastic stuff with the coloring."
Interested parties need not wait long to tune into the inaugural broadside of TRUE BELIEVERS-and in the meantime Cary Bates responds succinctly to the question of whether or not these "counter-culture subversives" possess a future beyond the limited series:
"Absolutely," replies the writer with no shortage of enthusiasm. "One of the drawbacks of doing this as a five-issue series was the fact that we barely got to scratch the surface of an overflowing Marvel Universe!"
Cut through the static of the establishment on July 30 and open yourself up to the truth with TRUE BELIEVERS.