By Tim Stevens
This February, SECRET AVENGERS receives an all-new creative team. Writer Rick Remender comes onboard for issue #21.1, a Point One special illustrated by Patrick Zircher. Then in issue #22, Gabriel Hardman joins Remender, but do not think the changes end there.
“In the last couple years since his return, Steve Rogers has stretched himself incredibly thin,” Remender says. “He knows he has to hand the [Secret Avengers] over to a new leader, but isn’t quite ready to.”
The Avenging Archer himself, Hawkeye, presents a potential successor; however, Captain America’s hesitancy to step down and their prior relationship may derail Clint Barton before he really can assume control.
“When we open #21.1, we see Cap testing Hawkeye a bit, and Hawkeye knows it, and doesn’t like it,” Remender explains. “Hawkeye, upon taking the reins, over compensates a bit. He hasn’t had his own Avengers team in a long time, and he wants to make it doubly clear that he’s every bit as competent to run the squad as Steve Rogers was. Given the severity of their first mission he completely whitewashes his sense of humor, and tries to act like Captain America. This causes some complications.”
New team members, including Captain Britain, will increase the scope of the title and add further pressure to the transition.
“[The team will go] international and interdimensional,” reveals Remender. “Captain Britain is once again the overseer of Otherworld, the dimension outside of all dimensions, where he and the Captain Britain Corps guard the Omniverse. Brian Braddock, the noble curmudgeon, is an important member given he holds access to any other dimension, a handy thing to have, should an interdimensional threat approach our world. The team’s first journey takes them to many new and strange locations we’re developing in the Marvel Universe.”
The perils to internal cohesion pale in comparison, however, to the external threats Remender and Hardman have dreamed up.
“You won’t want to miss #21.1, and the first appearance of the all-new Masters of Evil,” the writer promises. “This issue is a dandy, with art by Patrick Zircher.
“Then in issue 22, the first issue of my first arc, I am joined by regular series artist Gabriel Hardman and cover artist Arthur Adams to introduce the Adaptoids, [who] are going to be a major new threat. They are sentient, hyper-evolved descendants of the original Super Adaptoid; they are much more powerful, with unique powers of adaption. Sentinels hunt mutants, Adaptoids hunt Avengers!”
SECRET AVENGERS will also connect more with Marvel Universe, especially Remender’s own VENOM and UNCANNY X-FORCE titles.
“I don't want to give too much away, but the series will intersect with both of the other books I'm writing,” he teases. “There are things seeded within UNCANNY X-FORCE #5.1 that begin to grow here as well, and these streams will definitely intersect again. But this series won’t just intersect with other books I'm writing, there are some very big plans coming up for the series involvement in the Marvel Universe.”
With all the changes, however, the creators remain dedicated to maintaining the book’s unique tone.
“Every book has its own look and feel,” contends Hardman. “This one needs to be grounded yet have the latitude to go in crazy directions.”
“It’s the same tone the series has always had, a combination of kinetic super heroics and espionage, set within the Marvel Universe,” concurs editor Tom Brevoort
Overall, all involved promise the book will be a wild ride.
“Well, there have to be a lot of secrets,” Remender pledges. “The cloak and dagger tone and series title demand it. The opening arc will have a big secret war, a big secret new world, a big secret new race, a big team death, a big secret team betrayal, and maybe even begin a secret affair. High stakes, intrigue, and tons of character drama. If you're a fan of what I'm doing in UNCANNY X-FORCE and VENOM, I think you'll enjoy what we have coming up in SECRET AVENGERS.”
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