By Eric Drumm
At only its fourth issue, THE ORDER has seen almost a complete roster change, zombie hobos and nuclear threats. That may seems like a lot, but the disasters keep coming for Los Angeles's own superteam. Can this team keep it together without imploding? Series writer and Marvel mainstay Matt Fraction (PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL, IMMORTAL IRON FIST) has some answers for us.
Being part of Tony Stark's fifty-state Initiative comes with a price, as the first roster of the Order learned. In an effort to curb reckless behavior, members are required to sign moral contracts to make sure they stay out of trouble on and off the battlefield. Most of the first lineup decided to booze it up after a victory, and as a result they were shown the door. Replaced with new members, its definite that Stark and his colleagues aren't messing around. Expected to be model citizens, the chance of more recruits washing out of the team is a big one. Fraction says that they have to be on their toes at all times to keep from getting the boot.
"It's a very real danger for everybody-- it's a hard job, and the margin for failure is slim. But hopefully, as the book continues, we'll begin to see that 'failure' with regards to The Order isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind," he says.
The current lineup has actually made it past one issue, so it seems that they are sticking around for the moment. Each issue so far has provided backstory into a different member of The Order. We have been privy to their personal history and what being in The Order means to them. It's been an effective way for you to get to know your hero and lay the groundwork for future revelations at the same time. Fraction agrees this is a slick way for us to learn about these folks, and likens it to some show about people stuck on an island.
"It's sort of like 'Lost', I think, where we learn a little bit more about the cast one episode at a time, while the big stories all move forward," says Fraction of the story nuggets we'll continue to see.
Even though we haven't seen her backstory yet, team member Mulholland is pretty mysterious. She apparently has the ability to tap into the latent energies of Los Angeles and channel them through her tricked out sledgehammer. Tinsel Town has quite a few broken dreams, death, murder and natural disasters to call upon, so her power could be devastating. One problem, though – she doesn't know how to use it and has proven to be a total chicken in battle. Fraction says that we shouldn't rule her out just yet, and that given the opportunity she might be a heavy.
"If Mulholland could get out of her own way, there'd be very little that could stop her."
To have someone with that much power on the team, one would need foresight and tactical genius. Nobody had more foresight and tactical genius than Tony Stark. Personally overseeing the team as well as bankrolling their marketing and public relations budgets, The Order has been a pet project for Stark. Like any good business man, Stark will be stopping by to check on his investment according to Fraction.
"Oh yes. Look for Big T to drop in very very soon," he says about Director Stark coming to visit.
While their foes are getting deadlier and their image is getting dirtier, The Order are still adjusting to the whole hero thing. Why did they volunteer? How are they handling their powers? Can they leave their personal problems in the locker room when they suit up for work? It all remains to be seen. However, Fraction promises that the story nuggets might answer some of these questions as we learn more about each member.
"Four is Magdalena Marie, aka VEDA; five is Kate Kildare of HESTIA PR; six is Sgt. Milo Fields, aka SUPERNAUT, and then, in seven, we-- well, that'd be telling. The end of THE ORDER #6 blows the doors off the joint. What happens in #7 has to be seen to be believed-- it's definitely a turning point for The Order in a major, major way, as well as what might be the issue Marvel fans have been waiting to see Barry Kitson draw."
Call your agent and check out THE ORDER #4 by Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson on sale November 7.