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Dark Reign

Making the List: Brian Michael Bendis

The mastermind behind Earth’s Mightiest Heroes brings together both versions of his team for a colossal crossover

By Kevin Mahadeo This fall, Norman Osborn's making a list, but he'll only need to check it once. As Osborn's rule over the Marvel Universe tightens, the Green Goblin-turned-Iron Patriot targets his biggest threats and prepares to deal with them accordingly. Comprised of eight interconnected one-shots, DARK REIGN: THE LIST refers to a literal list of people, places and things that hold particular importance to the Marvel Universe's current man in charge. A different creative team tackles each issue, which each address one item on the previously mentioned list. For the next week, Marvel.com will be speaking with the talented writers responsible for Making the List.

Dark Reign:
The List

This fall, both Dark and New Avengers assemble for a faceoff of earth-shattering proportions under the penmanship of writer Brian Michael Bendis in DARK REIGN: THE LIST—AVENGERS, the first in the series of eight interconnected one-shots pitting Norman Osborn against the very status quo of the Marvel Universe. "Part of the pitch was that I would do this first one, and it would be Norman looking at the Marvel Universe and, from his point of view, what's wrong with it," explains Bendis. "Some of it is stuff that is the status quo, but for Norman being in charge, he wonders 'Why is the Hulk running around? Why are the Avengers allowed to do this? Why are the Fantastic Four the only ones with a Negative Zone? Why is Nick Fury training terrorists in his basement?' They're all very good questions that we look at as entertaining stories, but they look at it as very serious problems. And after what happens in the DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN crossover, it inspires him to put this list together and proactively pursue it instead of waiting for it to blow up in his face." Along with setting up the concept of THE LIST—created on a creative powwow between Bendis and writer Matt Fraction during an Xbox Live gaming session—Bendis' upcoming special teams the writer with artist Marko Djurdjevic and serves as the climax of the recently escalating PR storm between Norman Osborn and Clint Barton of the New Avengers. Bendis took a break from making THE LIST to tease readers about what to expect, hint the event's lasting effects and shares his fondness for hair jokes.

Clint Barton

Marvel.com: You've mentioned previously your issue is very big for Clint Barton, aka Ronin. Clint did burn Norman on national television. Is this Norman's way of getting back at him? Brian Bendis: That's going to go back and forth a couple times. It's not just Clint. Norman burns him pretty bad, too, and it goes back and forth a couple times until they both feel they have to shut the guy up pretty quickly. [Laughs] That begins and ends in [this] special. And the great news is that I get to work with Marko Djurdjevic, which I'm totally excited about. Everyone loves his covers, but I'm all about his interiors. I loved his work on THOR. I was literally waiting in line with my hand up to get a chance to work with him, and Tom [Brevoort] called and said, "Marko," and I go, "Yes! Marko!" I really think it's going to be stunning. Marvel.com: I definitely wanted to ask about that. Everyone Marko does is just beautiful. Do you plan on really playing to his strengths and writing up these awesome epic scenes just to see him draw the heck out of them? Brian Bendis: Yeah. I didn't even start writing the story until I found out who was drawing it. Everyone got an awesome artist, and I was hoping for one as well and for someone I hadn't worked with before. So this was very, very exciting for me. Marvel.com: You talked about the escalating conflict between Norman and Clint, which we've seen pieces of in both NEW AVENGERS and DARK AVENGERS. But at this point, when words are no longer enough, what is Norman's plan of attack? Brian Bendis: You'll find out in THE LIST: AVENGERS. It's really who is going to go after who first, as well. Norman's not the only one with a list. Marvel.com: Obviously, with Marko at your disposal, there will be some big fights in this... Brian Bendis: Oh yeah. A very big throw down. Very, very big. If I tell you who, it kind of gives away the plot, but it is one I think people will really dig, and it's not one you'd expect. [I will say] Norman Osborn and Clint Barton will be face-to-face. I don't want to give it away, but Bullseye and Venom hold down Clint and Norman does his hair to look like his.

Norman Osborn

Marvel.com: That is just beyond evil right there. Brian Bendis: "Now you will live with my pain!" I'm beginning to break open the thousands of hair jokes I have that are already seeding into the book. Every time things get really, really tense, Bullseye just whispers into [Norman's] ear, "What's with your hair?" The List is all hair products. Marvel.com: Previously in DARK AVENGERS, we saw Norman responding to Clint's accusations by recalling that he's a reformed criminal himself. But what about the New Avengers as a whole? How does he rationalize to the public they're a threat? I mean, they all fought with Norman to defeat the Skrull army. Brian Bendis: Well, they're breaking the law. They're unregistered and are participating in shenanigans. Spider-Man's with them. It's very easy. What's cool about this is from Civil War on how easy it is to paint the picture. I posted on my web site the other day, right after DARK AVENGERS #5 when Norman went on television and laid it on [Clint], how Dick Cheney went on television and blamed the guy in charge of intelligence for not warning him about [September 11, 2001] after he had done so six or seven times. Just to use the example, Dick Cheney had no problem running around trying to use the media to paint a picture. It very well could be that as far as Dick Cheney is concerned what's he's saying is absolutely true, but it's funny how easily a man of importance can get on television and say whatever he wants and some people will believe it and others will ask why he isn't in jail. That's sort of like what's going on now [in the Marvel Universe]. Marvel.com: You compared Norman Osborn to Joe McCarthy before. The List parallels, in a way, Joe McCarthy's infamous list of communists in America. Was this an intent or happenstance?

cover by
Marko Djurdjevic

Brian Bendis:
Well, when the idea of The List comes about, you certainly look at history and it solidifies in my mind as the writer as something that would happen. This had happened before. The initial idea was, "If I was Norman Osborn and I was looking around the Marvel Universe, what would I do?" I'd make a To Do List and take care of things immediately. That was the initial thought, and then when you're sitting in bed later than night thinking about whether that's a good idea or not, you start thinking about Joe McCarthy, you start thinking about Guantanamo, you start thinking about the world and you realize it would happen—it's legitimate. Marvel.com: Now, you said earlier that this is a Clint Barton story, but just to be clear, will we be seeing all of the New Avengers and Dark Avengers? Brian Bendis: Yeah, yeah. I don't want to undersell the fact that you will see all the New Avengers and all the Dark Avengers. They're in there on pretty much every single page, but when you strip it down, it's about what Norman decides to do and what Clint decides to do about it. And there's a fight you've never seen before and you're going to see it in this. It's a great start off to the whole List idea. It shows how far and how unexpected these battles can get, how dangerous this list is, and what is could possibly mean to the status quo of all these books. Marvel.com: So, you're saying The List changes a lot of the books in the Marvel U? Brian Bendis: It's very changing to a lot of books. To me, they're like annuals in the best sense of the word. Annuals are supposed to be these double-sized great stories that actually end up affecting the book. I hate to do "when I was a kid," but when I was a kid the X-Men Annual would really rock the X-Men book. If you missed the annual you missed everything. Everyone who is writing these List specials are also writing the [ongoing] books as well, so they're really using this as an opportunity to do something very dramatic that affects the book in a great way story-wise.
Check back in Monday when we speak with Rick Remender about Making the List! Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now! Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes! Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" and "Wolverine and the X-Men" now on iTunes!

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Here we go again another sleeper... The never ending story of Bendis only a lot of talking with extra long scenes people having stupid conversations what doesn't add anything to the stories.... Another one to stay away fromYawwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

youngcrawford member

No more political views please. Let's just keep it Marvel. There's always one out of the bunch isn't there (Marvel King Namor)...............


omg you all need to chill out. Bendis was using a real life situation, where cheney was believed by some and not by others, to explain how he rationalises a fictional story by trying to see parallels and similarities in the real world. How can you ask someone or entity to not include politics in their story telling? The last 10 years or so of American political history has been some of the most controvertial and influential, not just in the US but across the world. It would be nieve (spelling?) to think that people not living under a rock could ignore such rich inspiration, even on a subconscious level. Bendis and anyone else would be selling themselves, and us, short if they didn't use the most interesting source material to help them come up with stories. Political or not.


everytime "NAMOR KING OF ATLANTIS" makes a post i hate him just that much more....makes me want to hate Namor, who is one of my favorites, thanks guy. your just like CBR's x men forum, they are all insane, and Dazzler lovers, and they make me wanna hate Dazzler, who i legitimately like


honestly, people need to stop comparing any of these people to any real people. THEY ARE COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS. Norman Osborne is not real. Get over it, folks.That aside, this looks very cool. Much better than Marvel's last big bombshell (Ultimatum).


I don't care if they are taking shots at Bush, Obama, Palin, whoever!They should just keep politics out of the comics.Besides, Reagan is obviously the ultimate hero. haha.


I'm really excited for this, especially since the Spider-Man one shot is last, which gives me hope that he will play a major role in Normans downfall. But I agree with "King of Marvel Namor", I really wish the writers would stop taking shots at Bush/Cheney, to me that makes the story less enjoyable.


Man, ENOUGH WITH THE E-MESSAGE BOARD PARTISANSHIP! Nobody THINKS when it comes to politics anyway! People just ALIGN themselves according to PARTY LINES! To base rightness or wrongness on whether one is a liberal or conservative/Democrat or Republican is IDIOTIC! No better than Bloods and Crips shooting at each other for wearing colors! Folks can barely find, much less articulate, any decent reasoning, facts, or figures, but can always seem to find the nerve to say, "THE OTHER SIDE IS WRONG BECAUSE THEY'RE THE OTHER SIDE!" GET OVER IT...Meantime, the book looks interesting. Personally, I love the basing of comics on real-life situations, and I love bringing the idea of McCarthyism into the mix. It reminds me of how so much negative propaganda was generated against communists that actually lasts to this day. Yet, most Americans have only vague ideas as to what communism and capitalism are, even though capitalism is what we ascribe to. In the same sense, Norman is probably going to "blacklist" several heroes who pose more danger to HIM and HIS ADMINISTRATION than to society at-large. And people will grow to fear them for reasons they don't even fully understand. But the fear alone will give Norman the control he desires.


Political quotes aside, will be one of the big happenings this summer. A can't miss.


so ok i would compare norman to oboma and clint to cheany because oboma blames everything on the previous administration and chany went on tv to try to set the record right, and stick up for himself. but bendis is a frikin liberal socialist so naturaly he sees it backwards? please dont involve politics when your talking about your characters. u just piss people off. your a great comic book writer not a politician, thanks lol