While much of “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” has focused on Incursions and hammers falling from the heavens of late, there has been an undercurrent of unrest when it comes to the mutant corner of the MAA Marvel Universe.
Since Magneto joined the Alliance, various leaders have claimed control over the Brotherhood, the latest being Mystique, while other groups like the Hellfire Club have also sought to fill the void. Also lurking in the background, ominous figures like Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister and of course the ever-present Sentinels.
All the mutant mayhem comes to a head in the latest Spec Op: Fratricide.
With the Spec Op in full swing, we got details on what to expect from “Avengers Alliance” Producer Justin Woods.
Marvel.com: So Justin, what’s the overview of Fratricide, aka Spec Op 19?
Justin Woods: We’ve done a lot of mutant stories and a lot of stories with the X-Men, and there’s been a lot of Spec Ops based on the X-Men and the X-Men family of characters. Before we start to take a little bit of a break from all that stuff, there’s a lot of other X-Men characters we really wanted to get into the game so we decided, “Let’s make this another really big, meaty, X-Men Spec Op with a group boss that can really unify the mutant villain front.” Because we’ve got all these mutant villains in the game and they’re scattered all over the place.
At this point of time in the story, the Brotherhood has been just completely dismantled with Magneto leaving and soon there will be a couple of others leaving as well and becoming future Lockbox characters. The Brotherhood is in shambles, the Hellfire Club has kind of been really, really, quiet other than Selene. You keep hearing Sebastian Shaw’s name and other characters from the Hellfire Club but you don’t see those guys. And then the Sentinels are kind of interesting. Magneto is not a villain anymore and doesn’t have any sort of connection with his Sentinels anymore. And then you have all the guys that are sort of the bio-evolution types. You’ve got Apocalypse in that category; we’ve seen Mr. Sinister in a previous chapter in Spec Ops 16 [where] he revealed himself but we didn’t end up getting to fight him. And then Sugar Man is out there as well.
So basically what we set out to do is say, “We’re going to make these really specific groups of villains that are attacking the X-Men and they all stand for these very different things.” And so what you see is the Brotherhood and the Hellfire Club have been kind of working together for a little while. Mystique is still in charge of the Brotherhood right now; Mystique tried to take over the Hellfire Club and that didn’t end up working out and that story goes all the way back to Spec Op 2. Now you’ve got the Brotherhood in shambles and in fact they are going to be merging with the Hellfire Club so you’re going to see the few remaining members like Toad and Blob join the Hellfire Club and Sebastian Shaw shows up. So he is now going to be a villain in the game as of Spec Op 19. We have four total villains in this chapter. It’s really, really, packed with content.
Shaw shows up [and] he unites the Hellfire Club with the remaining members of the Brotherhood but Avalanche goes, “You know, what, this isn’t for me. This is getting way too complicated, this is getting really weird. I believed in what the Brotherhood was doing and now the Brotherhood doesn’t really exist anymore and I don’t really want to have anything to do with it.” He’s a Lockbox hero in the Spec Op. You’ve got him coming in as a playable [character]. We wanted to get our next favorite X-Man as the reward hero so we got Cannonball in there who’s been featured heavily in the AVENGERS comic by Jonathan Hickman recently. We wanted to get him in there in his new Avengers costume, his nice yellow and black flight suit.
Sinister and Sugar Man and Apocalypse have been working together this entire time and you start to see that play out as well. They are joined along with Sauron, who will be joining them on their mission, and then you’ve got the Sentinel front and you see that Bastion comes in and he unites all of the Sentinel factions. So he’s got Prime Sentinels, Nimrod Sentinels, regular Sentinels, and Magneto Sentinels all working for him. Because he’s so dangerous and he’s got such a large army, he only made sense to be a Group Boss. And so you’ve got all those guys plus Mr. Sinister is actually in the mission. So you’ve got Sinister, Sauron, Bastion, and Sebastian Shaw all as new villains in this along with new playables Cannonball and Avalanche. It’s gonna be a really great time, it’s gonna be really epic.
Marvel.com: So there’s basically almost three separate almost storylines running at once. In previous Spec Ops it’s really been one kind of unified plot, but this is basically just the mutant world’s exploding and there’s three different threats to deal with all at once?
Justin Woods: You got it. And it’s gonna kind of start that classic X-Men storyline of, “Mutants are crazy, we need to get them under control.” It’s gonna start to bubble up again so it’s gonna be really interesting.
Marvel.com: And of course the interesting thing here is it’s not just an X-Men problem. Of course it’s “Avengers Alliance” so you’ve got all these characters at your disposal.
Justin Woods: You’re gonna see the typical thing you see in modern X-Men comics which is somebody like Professor X for example in our case, will be like, “Hey, we really appreciate your help, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers, please do come help us but let the X-Men take the lead because they know these guys.” So you’re gonna see a lot of team ups with X-Men characters. At the same time you’re going to see people like Tony Stark and Nick Fury involved with the story.
Marvel.com: Now when we talked about the Symbiosis Spec Op, the tech you ended up gathering for that made a lot of sense. It was a lot of sonic weapons, a lot of weapons that would work specifically on symbiotes. Is that something we’re going to see again here? Are you going to have the opportunity to get your hands on some mutant specific tech and stuff from past stories and stuff like that?
Justin Woods: Our tech is always trying to be themed around these villains that you see so think about the three villain groups and think about what types of tech S.H.I.E.L.D. would us to fight those types of enemies and I think that you’ll start to let your imagination run wild on the things that we’re putting together for the Spec Op.
Marvel.com: You've mentioned when you do a Lockbox character like when you did Sandman or like when you’ve done some of the others it has to make sense as far as, “This is someone who would potentially join this side.” Now with Avalanche, not a traditionally heroic character but you kind of talked a little bit about his motivation for leaving the Brotherhood side. How does he get hooked up with the Alliance side and how does that make sense in your mind?
Justin Woods: I think that he ultimately cares about mutant freedom and the protection of mutants more than anything and when he sees, “Hey, I followed Magneto and now Magneto is working with the good guys.” I think that he fits in a lot better with the X-Men and Professor X than he does with the Hellfire Club whose motivations are rarely known beyond the Inner Circle and he’s certainly not cool enough to Sebastian Shaw to be part of the Inner Circle. I think there’s a mixture of jealousy, frustration and motivation changes sort of combine into making Avalanche a defector and really making him seek out shelter with the X-Men. He’s not excited about it but it’s what feels right to him.
Marvel.com: Is there anything else you want to say about this Spec Op?
Justin Woods: I think that you’re going to see a Spec Op where all of the characters have some really involved, really cool animation and they’re all gonna be really interesting to fight against and play as and it’s just gonna be a really, really, satisfying, really content rich Spec Op and I think people are gonna love it. In the past my favorite Spec Ops have always been the X-Men ones that we’ve done. Spec Op 16 is my favorite Spec Op that we’ve ever done and before that I really liked Spec Op 3 which was Avengers vs. X-Men, so I think that [we] tell X-Men stories really well and we find compelling ways to introduce the new villains and new heroes and I think that this is no exception to the rule. I think it’s going to be one of my favorites.
Join “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” and play the Fratricide Spec Op today!