By Kiel Phegley
Everyone knows the new Dark Reign status quo saw one of the Marvel Universe's greatest villains taking control, but just because the power at the top promotes evil, that doesn't mean every villain will fall in line.
The true underbelly of Marvel villainy earns a closer look in the pages of DARK REIGN: ZODIAC, a three-issue limited series written by Joe Casey with art by newcomer Nathan Fox .
"Honestly, I'm not sure if this book has anything
in common with the other [Dark Reign] books coming out," Casey says of the bad guy-heavy project. "I have a feeling that we're coming from a very different, but very specific bent that possibly no one else has considered yet. The whole idea behind Dark Reign seems to be that the villains are now in charge. They are the establishment. But, to me, the whole idea behind being a super villain is a little more punk rock than that. A bona fide super villain
doesn't believe in the establishment, wouldn't want to be in charge, wants to tear it down, wants to have complete freedom of—typically bad—behavior. That's where this book came from: to express those sentiments in a very visceral way."
Leading that visceral charge comes Zodiac, a new take on the old Marvel organization whose astrologically-themed membership has tussled with everyone from Nick Fury to the Avengers in their heyday, as well as a wild supporting cast.
"Aside from Zodiac, we'll see the Clown, Manslaughter Marsdale, the Whirlwind, Paste-Pot Pete, a new villainess called Death Reaper—hint, her mother is an established Marvel villain—and more," the writer promises.
And for readers worried about ZODIAC turning into a mushy tale of heartwarming redemption, Casey soothes with a vow that the book will exude a raw attitude.
"For me, the difference is that I'm not writing this series with the idea that 'the villain is the hero of his own story,'" he explains. "That's bull. I'm presenting a character that's just a bad-ass mother, evil for evil's sake. There's no insanity involved, it's simply a radical lifestyle choice. I honestly don't know if readers are going to be rooting for our leads or not. But in a book like this, that almost doesn't matter. It's more about taking the ride."
Of Fox's art, Casey proclaims, "The guy's amazing and this will be his first Marvel work. Tonally, the cover for issue #1 really says it all" before concluding with a bold claim:
"We're setting up the next generation of Marvel villain. I see it as part of my job to look past something like Dark Reign and see what's on the other side. This is the first step."
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