[SPOILER WARNING: THIS INTERVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR "INFINITY" #4, ON SALE NOW.]
The chaotic and unpredictable nature of war means victory is not always certain, and that seemingly safe areas can be attacked and transformed when you least expect it. That's especially true in the Marvel Universe where fantastic elements like super powers, alien technology and the supernatural can inflate the scale of wars and make them even more anarchic. That's exactly what happened in the ongoing Marvel Comics event, "Infinity," which chronicles a two-front intergalactic war; in space where the Avengers and their allies in the Galactic Council battle the awesome might of the alien race known as the Builders, and on Earth where the Inhumans and the planet's remaining heroes must contend with the forces of the diabolical intergalactic mass murder known as Thanos.
In "Infinity" #4 by writer Jonathan Hickman and artists Dustin Weaver and Jerome Opena both those wars took unexpected turns as the Avengers attempted a risky gambit to turn the tide against the Builders, the Inhumans' city of Attilan exploded, and the citizens of New York and around the world suddenly found themselves undergoing strange transformations. In today's Installment of THE INFINITE WAR REPORT, Comic Book Resources examines those events and more as Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort, who also edits "Infinity," joins us for commentary and insight into "Infinity" #4.
CBR News: Tom, as they did in previous issues of "Infinity" Jerome Opena and Dustin Weaver had their work cut out for them on "Infinity" #4, and they really succeeded. Which of their sequences in the issue really stood out for you?
Tom Brevoort: Certainly Thor throwing his hammer, having it circle the sun, and then coming back was a huge moment, and one that had been talked about from the very beginning of the planning of "Infinity." So that was a big thing to see Jerome execute on the page.
Plus we have all of the fallout from the explosion of Attilan; the Terrigen Mists entering the atmosphere and the effects they had. There's a page of it sweeping across the city and the landscape that Dustin did a very nice job on.
Let's move into the action that unfolded in "Infinity" #4 starting with what happened in New York City. We see the remnants of the formerly floating city of Attilan fall from the sky and onto the city below. Which part of New York are the remnants of Attilan striking and how badly damaged is that area?
For the most part the area is not that badly damaged, because the vast majority of whatever was left of Attilan struck the East River. There may have been chunks and bits that fell onto the city proper, but the city is also in the middle of an alien invasion. So there's plenty of collateral damage to go around [Laughs]
Was the destruction of Attilan caused by Maximus' Terrigen Bomb?
Yes, the destruction of Attilan and the detonation of Maximus' device are one and the same. That device was triggered by Black Bolt's scream and it's what detonated Attilan. They were not two separate actions. Black Bolt triggered the device and the detonation.
The Terrigen bomb caused some people in New York and across the globe to undergo some radical physical transformations. My understanding is those changes were caused by the fact that centuries ago members of the Inhumans interbred with humans, and what we're seeing here are the descendants of those Inhumans transforming via the Terrigen Mist. Is that correct?
Yes, we've now been told that there were Inhumans of days gone by who went out into the world and who have intermingled and interbred with the indigenous people of that time. So over the course of hundreds of years bits of their genetic code have been passed down to their descendants. Now any of those descendants who have that genetic code and have been exposed to this sudden influx of Terrigen Mist are going through Terrigenesis and coming out as new Inhumans.
How widespread are these transformations? Does this new breed of Inhumans outnumber the Marvel Universe's mutant population?
At this point it's probably too soon to tell, especially given that the effects of Attilan's destruction are not instantaneous worldwide. When the city exploded the Terrigen Mist that was contained in Attilan was released into the atmosphere. So right now there's an immediate fallout zone; whatever distance that initial spread of Terrigen Mist has covered. That fallout will increase as the particles enters the atmosphere, the winds shift, and they becomes part of the biosphere and the food chain.
It's comparable to the debris from an exploding volcano or the horrible devastation from the Japanese earthquake and flooding from a few years ago. You could almost track the changes in weather patterns, wind patterns, and ocean currents to see where it's going to go.
Right now, the hot spot for whatever new Inhumans are out there is in and around the New York area and however far the Terrigen Mist has spread. It's certainly spread far enough that it could affect Thane out where he is, which is Greenland. So it's not a small area.
So as you said, the big questions are how many of these new Inhumans are out there, and how do their numbers compare to the mutant population? Given that when last we counted the mutant population was less than 200 plus any new mutants that have been activated since the end of "Avengers Vs. X-Men" I would have to guess that the previous Inhumans outnumbered them. Now, though, they're definitely outnumbered by the Inhumans or they soon will be as the more remote areas of the globe are touched by the Terrigen.
Where did the idea to introduce this new breed of Inhumans come from? Why did Marvel ultimately choose to introduce them? And what sort of story opportunities do they present?
This was a notion that had been kicking around for awhile. We had talked about doing a Terrigen Bomb or scattering the Mists out into the world somehow at a number of our editorial retreats. Ultimately in "Infinity" we found a place and a story where it fit in as an element pretty seamlessly.
The thing it does is put the Inhumans front and center in our universe; similar to how we recently lavished some attention on cosmic characters like Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy. We've always felt that the Inhumans have a great deal of potential, but part of the problem is they've always been fairly remote. They're in a city that's thousands of miles away, whether it's in the Himalayas, on the Moon, or even floating above Manhattan. So they're removed from everybody else. You can go and visit and they can come see you, but the fact that they were so distant and so isolated made them difficult to get a handle on.
Also, there have been discussions going back years and years about whether not there could be something out there that's an alternative to mutants, or that are to mutants what mutants are to normal human beings. We've played with different iterations of that idea over the years and the Inhumans as a strain are an alternative to mutants. They're another strata of being that's living on the Earth, has their own demographic and will struggle for their own share of the same planet.
So you immediately have a story about how mutants and Inhumans, two super powered minorities feared and distrusted by man, interact with each other?
Sure. For certain.
Do we know exactly why Black Bolt and Maximus chose to build and detonate the Terrigen bomb?
[Laughs] I know. Do you, Dave?
[Laughs] Black Bolt isn't exactly forthcoming about his motivations.
No he's not, and at this point you have less information than you could want. I imagine, though, that there will be some more information before we're though.
Let's move to outer space, specifically the planet Hala where the Avengers pulled off a risky gambit to show the galaxy that Builders could be beaten. Thor was key to this gambit in that he was chosen to be Captain America's "negotiator" with the Builders. I imagine part of the reason why Thor was chosen was because of the cool visual of his hammer returning through the chest of the Builder. Were there any other heroes though that might have been the negotiator? Or was it always going to be Thor?
I suppose Cap could have come up with a stratagem where somebody else could have been that person, but Thor, Cap, and Iron Man are the big three of the Avengers. They're sort of the central brotherhood atop which everything else rests, and Iron Man is not there. So really if it wasn't going to be Cap himself it was almost assuredly going to be Thor.
People tend to underestimate Thor as a character. They tend to forget just how powerful, unstoppable, and majestic he is. He's royalty and the perfect guy to send to something like this even if what you do mean to do is surrender; not that that's the kind of thing Thor does a lot of. As an emissary he carries the right sort of regal baring. He's also knowledgeable enough in the ways of warfare to pull off a deception like this, and do it under the non-existent nose of the Builder.
By killing the Builder Thor rallied the Kree back into the Galactic alliance, but his act was seen by more than just the Kree, correct? It's my understanding the Builders were broadcasting it over a wide range of space.
Yes they were! It was a surprise ending to them as well [Laughs]
The Supreme Intelligence was silent during the scene where Thor rallied the Kree. Can you comment at all on that?
I don't know if there's any need for the Supreme Intelligence to constantly be verbose. It can keep its own council and it has enough minds and personas within its make up to be able to ask and answer any question it might have. We'll see a little more of what the Supreme Intelligence's thoughts on all of this are in "Avengers #21.
How does Cap feel in the final page of "Infinity" #4? His smile seems to suggest that his faith in his friend and the battle he and his allies are waging was rewarded.
I would say that's a fine description. It's nice when things go your way for once.
Let's move to the hidden Inhuman City of Orollan where we meet Thanos' son Thane. Interestingly enough Thane happens to be a healer. I'm curious about his motivations for choosing that profession. Does Thane know who his father is? Was choosing the medical profession a way of rejecting his father's legacy of death?
Yes and yes.
In "Infinity" #4 Thane undergoes Terrigenesis which has left people wondering what his super human abilities are. Did players of the "Marvel Avengers Alliance" game for Facebook get a sneak peek at the character and what he can do?
They certainly got a sneak peek of the character, and that was pretty cool for players of the game (and generated an awful lot of press). Whether or not what he can do there is exactly what he can do in the actual books? It's a little early to say. Certainly he had an effect on those around him in "Infinity" #4. We'll learn more about that in "Infinity" #5.
Finally, can you offer up any hints for the next major chapters of "Infinity," "Avengers" #21 and "New Avengers" #11? Should readers read one issue before the other?
Fortunately because they take place in different spheres, one in space and one on Earth, you can read them in either order. It doesn't really matter.
On the "Avengers" front we see the fallout from Thor's actions on Hala. We see the Avengers get their stuff together to a certain degree. And we see the awakening of Captain Universe.
Then in "New Avengers" we have the issue everybody's been waiting for, whether they know it or not. We'll see an Incursion happen in the middle of all this "Infinity" madness. We also get great insight into what the Builders are doing and why they are actually here.
"Infinity" #4 is on sale now. "Avengers" #21 and "New Avengers" #11 both go on sale October 16.