By Ryan Penagos
by Barry Kitson
The ________. It's a name that harkens back to the '70s and visions of Angel, Black Widow, Darkstar, Ghost Rider, Hercules and Iceman defending the streets of Los Angeles.
But now, in the wake of CIVIL WAR, it means so much more.
As announced at the Civil War: The Initiative panel at New York Comic Con, the July-launching 12-issue maxi-series by Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson introduces a new breed of __________ who've sprung out of Civil War and are integral to The Initiative. This group, unlike the original team, is comprised of brand new heroes created by Tony Stark as part of his 50 State Initiative.
"The _________ is a team of broken people that refuse to be defeated, all of whom choose to rise up," explains Fraction. "Our team is made up of men and women that have all tasted greatness and experienced what it means to be a real hero, and then had that feeling taken away from them. Our core cast have all fallen, have all been thrown away or marginalized or otherwise forgotten. Being a ________ gives them all a chance to rise, to fight for and earn redemption the redemption they all deserve. And the process that's imbued them all with superpowers is a volatile one--it ends in a year.
"It's a unique experiment: the team is competitive entry and competitive continuance. It's almost like a ball club--there could be five or six different pitchers, and just because you're the opening-day starter doesn't mean you'll make it to October--hell, you might not even still be on the mound eight innings later. The _________ we meet in issue 1 aren't all going to make it the whole year. They might get injured, they might quit, they might get fired. They might die. But they're all getting a chance to rise."
But these new heroes won't be going it alone. "Tony Stark's going to be in the book," reiterates series editor Warren Simons. "He's going to oversee the team and make sure everything is working. This is his little baby. Through sheer force of will he's going to make this thing work, and it's going to be interesting to see not only who they fight and what they're fighting over, but how they deal with each other."
The series is still fresh to artist Barry Kitson, but he was on board from the start. "I think the pitch is great," says Kitson. "Having had a few talks with Warren and Matt, I think I'm going to really enjoy working with both of them. I love everything I've ever read of Matt's. For me, it's going to be a real fresh challenge. I'm really enthusiastic about working with him and Warren and getting into it. Getting to work in the Marvel Universe—finally! It is something I've always wanted to do, but to get a chance to do it in a kind of significant way means a lot to me."
Significant? Definitely. But will the team's name automatically conjure images and ideas for fans? "Well, it's not the '70s team, but I think that it's a good title, a good name and it's fitting for the team itself because these are Tony's _________," adds Simons. "These are the best guys to launch under the 50 State Initiative and show that America it will work. Whereas Avengers: The Initiative
is a story about the training that it takes to be a registered hero, The _________ is superhero team where guys are already in the big show and are out there learning on the job."
Get in on the lesson plan when the series begins this July. Visit our Initiative hub
for more on The _________ and check out all of our New York Comic Con coverage